Leeds United could be heading towards another Jermaine Beckford saga with Luciano Becchio unless the club quickly pull their fingers out.
Becchio is out of contract at the end of the season at Elland Road and is yet to sign a new contract with the club.
Leeds eventually lost leading goalscorer Jermaine Beckford in the summer to Everton on a free transfer after allowing his contract to run down after failing to agree terms with him the previous summer.
Leeds boss Simon Grayson has confirmed that the club have been in negotiations with the Argentinian and his representatives and they are once again not prepared to break their wage budget to keep this seasons leading goalscorer.
Grayson speaking after the game on Saturday, said, ‘Today’s hat-trick has probably increased his negotiation rights. We are in negotiations with his representatives and we want to keep him because he is a fantastic player and we want to hold on to our best players.
‘We will look to reach agreement but we must stay within our wage budget. The fans love him and he is a cult hero. To score his three goals in front of the kop was a great experience for him.’
Becchio has now scored 45 goals in 121 appearances since signing for Leeds in the summer of 2008, after enjoying a successful trial at the club that eventually earned him a three-year contract.
It is rumoured that he turned up for his trials with Leeds during their preseason tour of Ireland armed with just a pair of boots.
The 26 year old has not always earned the plaudits for his goals despite scoring 19 and 17 goals respectively in his first two seasons at Elland Road, but is a huge fans favourites for his hard working and physical display`s for the team.
After his hat trick on Saturday, he could now be on the radar of even more clubs, having already been rumoured with Celtic and Middlesbrough during the summer.
Clubs interested in signing Becchio could start contract negotiations with the striker in January unless he has signed a new deal at Elland Road before then.
Although I would never want the club to go down the same path of earlier this century, do we want to be a club aiming for the Premiership with quality players or do we have to rely on free transfers who may or may not fill the boots of those that have done so well before them?
It`s going to be an interesting few month`s at Elland Road, will Leeds allow two players who have scored 130 goals between them leave for nothing in the space of 12 months?
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