Date:Tuesday June 6 2006
Despite Leadbitter`s agent Ian Elliot insisting the youngster wants to stay at the club he loves despite their relegation to the Championship, he has confirmed that he has rejected a second offer.
Elliott said: 'Sunderland have offered Grant a slightly improved contract from the first one that we rejected, but it's still way short of being what he is worth.
'It is only marginally more than the one that they gave him three years ago.
'Grant is a Sunderland lad and he wants to stay at Sunderland. He doesn't want Sunderland fans to think he is greedy because that is not the case. But their offer is too low.`
With the 19-year-old's current deal set to expire at the end of this month, Sunderland will continue talks with Leadbitter in a desperate attempt to keep hold of one of the club`s brightest young prospects. With Ben Alnwick having handed a transfer request in only last week, failing to tie down Leadbitter will come as another blow.
While Spurs and Arsenal chase Alnwick, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Blackburn are all monitoring Leadbitter`s situation, and if no new contract is agreed by the end of the month then Leadbitter is free to leave Wearside. Because of his young age however, Sunderland would be entitled to compensation if he did move on.
And while the club may come under some criticism for failing to keep their young prize assets happy, the air of uncertainty surrounding the club does not help matters.
With no manager in place and the club undertaking protracted dealings with Niall Quinn`s consortium over a possible takeover, the future of the club is by no means certain, making it difficult for the current board to make long-term decisions, such as contract talks with the players.
And while Elliott appreciates the current uncertain situation the club find themselves in, he insists that his client`s next move is entirely in the hands of Sunderland,
'It's a problem for Sunderland at the minute, trying to put deals together for players when the takeover is still going through.
'But the offers we have had are unacceptable and there is no getting away from that.
'Grant is on holiday at the minute and I have informed Sunderland that he won't accept the offer. The ball is in their court now.`
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|17. Leicester City||12||2||4||6||-7||10|
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