Leeds United loanee in play-off blow as cash windfall chance from Elland Road sell-on clause assessed

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Former Leeds United pair Lewis Bate and Max Dean were dealt a blow to their promotion hopes with League Two club MK Dons on Tuesday night.

The Dons fell to a 3-0 defeat against Crawley Town in their opening leg play-off semi-final, leaving Bate, Dean and co with a mountain to climb in the return fixture at Stadium:mk on Saturday, May 11.

Bate is currently on loan at the fourth tier outfit but is expected to depart Elland Road for good this summer after a three-year spell with the club, while ex-Everton youngster Dean left in a permanent switch during the January 2023 transfer window.

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Both players have played an integral role in the Dons' successful season so far, rising to fourth in the League Two standings, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion under up-and-coming coach Mike Williamson.

Dean and Bate each started the match at Crawley's Broadfield Stadium but were behind after five minutes courtesy of Liam Kelly's opener. Jay Williams added a second in first half stoppage time, before Ronan Darcy hit a third during the second half with MK Dons unable to reply on the night.

Should the Bedfordshire club be promoted, it may further shine a light on the performances of former Leeds U21 striker Dean. The 20-year-old has 18 goals and five assists in 33 appearances this term and has been in impressive form since returning from injury late in the season.

The YEP understand Leeds hold a sell-on clause worth up to 50 per cent of any future fee, negotiated during his original sale to MK Dons just shy of 18 months ago. This means the Whites are in line to receive a cash windfall if Dean's services are sought elsewhere this summer, whether that be higher up the Football League pyramid or abroad, as was the case during the most recent January window with interest from one French club.

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Failure to promote may render it difficult for MK to retain Dean, should a lucrative bid be made for the 20-year-old during the transfer window, which opens in just over a month. The club have previous when it comes to selling high-potential young players on the back of promising seasons; Dele Alli was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for a fee in the region of £5.5 million in 2015, while Scott Twine left for Burnley in a £2.5 million move last summer. Other notable sales include midfielder Matt O'Riley to Celtic and centre-back Harry Darling to Swansea, both in excess of £1.5 million.

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