Leeds United: Grayson coy over Woodgate and Smith

Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate check in at Leeds Bradford Airport for Leeds United's pre-season tour in 2002.
Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate check in at Leeds Bradford Airport for Leeds United's pre-season tour in 2002.
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Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has refused to rule himself out of the bidding for Jonathan Woodgate and Alan Smith but says the club are “a long way” from bringing either player back to Elland Road.

United have been heavily linked with the former Leeds stars, both of whom are available on free transfers, but Grayson is keeping his options open after admitting that approaches for various targets are at an advanced stage.

Centre-back Woodgate has been released by Tottenham while Smith is free to leave Newcastle, despite the year remaining on his contract at St James’ Park.

United would want assurances over their respective fitness levels and both would be required to take considerable pay cuts before moving to Elland Road and the Championship.

Grayson said: “We’re interested in good players but that doesn’t mean those two will necessarily be signing for us. I’ve got many irons in the fire.

“I’ve had conversations with people but if anything it was more agents ringing me or people claiming to represent them.

“It’s something I have to consider because when good players become available you have to be interested but you have to look at the other side too – finances and injuries. Like any signing, you have to make sure all the ingredients are right.

“Jonathan’s not played too much football and Alan missed quite a part of last season, but if you had a fit Jonathan Woodgate and a fit Alan Smith then you’d have a host of clubs queuing up for them. The one thing we’ve got going for us is that they know the club and our ambition.

“That could help us if we go down that line, but there’s a long way to go. I’m a long way down the line with other players at this moment in time.”

Ronaldo Vieira.

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