First Leeds United loanee returns to Elland Road as club decide not to exercise cut-price purchase option

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Leeds United midfielder Sam Greenwood will return to Thorp Arch this summer after a loan spell with Championship rivals Middlesbrough.

The Teesside club have opted not to exercise the 22-year-old's reported £1.5 million purchase option included in his initial loan deal and will instead focus their resources elsewhere this summer, according to the Northern Echo.

Boro are expected to formally propose a contract offer to a second Leeds loanee as Luke Ayling looks to finalise a permanent switch to the Riverside Stadium as a free agent over the coming weeks.

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Greenwood joined Michael Carrick's outfit on a season-long loan last summer, appearing 38 times in the league and cup competitions. The ex-Arsenal and Sunderland youngster scored five goals and registered a further three assists during his spell on Teesside but failed to contribute to a goal during his final 16 outings in a Boro shirt.

Earlier this season, the club's director of football Kieran Scott gave an interview to the BBC in which he stated: "He's on loan with an option, I’ll leave it at that. The only slight issue that could come is if Leeds were promoted, being totally transparent so everyone has the full picture. If Leeds were to be promoted, we all know what comes with that, when teams get promoted players do better for themselves. I'm sure Sam is one of those and that is an issue that is there.

"I watched him when he was 15 at Sunderland. I really liked him, couldn't afford him. He went to Arsenal and then I had another swipe when he came out of Arsenal and chose to go to Leeds, which is fine.

"This is third time lucky. He's been good for us and we've been good for him. Long may it continue."

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Ultimately, Boro have chosen not part with the agreed seven-figure sum for Greenwood and the player will return to Elland Road where he remains contracted until 2027.

The Northern Echo reports: "Boro have instead lined up other attacking targets as they look to bolster the attacking midfield area, a priority this summer with Greenwood departing and Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks leaving in January.

"Finn Azaz joined in the winter window and enjoyed a promising end to the campaign, Isaiah Jones was a regular this term, Riley McGree and Marcus Forss are expected to be fit again for the start of pre-season and Alex Gilbert staked his claim with two eye-catching displays against Cardiff and Watford."

Leeds sent several players on loan last summer, including those who had played a part in the club's relegation from the Premier League months prior. While permanent deals for some have already been arranged, namely Luis Sinisterra and Robin Koch, not all have transfers lined up meaning there may yet be further Thorp Arch returnees in the weeks to follow.

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