Simon Grayson insists Leeds United would never have been able to successfully negotiate the cut-price deal which saw Alan Smith join League One promotion hopefuls MK Dons.
Smith, 31, has signed for the Dons on loan for the rest of the season from Newcastle United, with the Buckinghamshire outfit reportedly paying just £2,500 per week toward his £60,000 weekly wages, with his parent club continuing to fund the rest.
The ex-England international’s lucrative five-year-deal on Tyneside ends in June, but before the Magpies finally get him off their books for good, they still face paying him over £1m in wages.
United boss Grayson, who expressed interest in signing Smith in the summer, confirmed the club will monitor the Whites old boy’s progress in the coming weeks or months after deciding not to resurrect their interest this month.
On Smith, previously linked with Ipswich Town and American side Orlando City this month, Grayson said: “Obviously, there was a lot of speculation about him over the summer. He’s a player that we thought about many times and weighed up the response we’d get.
“But purely from a football reason was it a good decision to do? It was difficult because Alan hasn’t played a lot of football. It was difficult to bring him back knowing he hadn’t played a lot of football.
“He’s probably trained a lot and been very fit. But put that against the financial aspect of it and it would have been a big gamble for us. Because, believe me, we wouldn’t have got Alan Smith for two-and-a-half thousand pounds a week, that is for sure. It would have probably been another nought on the end.
“I saw the MK Dons manager on Saturday and he’s absolutely buzzing he’s got a player of Alan’s quality and experience.
“But our first target this month was Fabian Delph. We discussed it (Smith) more in the summer than we have done recently.
“It wasn‘t something we ever went back in for, but is obviously something I’ll keep on eye on over the next few weeks and months.”
Meanwhile, Grayson says that fleeting talk last week linking Jermaine Beckford with a sensational return to United from Leicester City was never a serious possibility.
He added: “I just think it was somebody being a bit mischievous, basically. Jermaine had been sub a little bit for Leicester and not had the best of starts.
“Somebody probably said: ‘Do you want to take him back?’ That happens all the time; we’ve been offered players and you think: ‘There’s no chance of us getting him out.’
“He’s now back in the Leicester team scoring loads of goals and that was never a go-er.”