Grant Leadbitter not hankering for move to Middlesbrough claims Paul Jewell
IT is a case of ambition rather than location which is causing Grant Leadbitter to delay his decision over his future.
That is the situation according to Town boss Paul Jewell who has allowed the 26-year-old midfielder another week to make up his mind.
It has been widely claimed that Middlesbrough is the likely destination for the ex-Sunderland man amid claims he would favour a move back to the North East when his contract runs out in the summer.
But disagreeing with that, Jewell revealed: “I had a phone call saying he wanted to go back to the North East but he categorically tells me that isn’t true.
“People are putting two and two together and getting five. Geography doesn’t bother him.”
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But that doesn’t mean Jewell doesn’t expect Tony Mowbray or other Championship managers to come in for such a talented free agent.
The Ipswich manager said: “He is entitled to speak to other clubs. He will have offers, he is a good player and he is out of contract.
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“I have mentioned Middlesbrough to him and he said going back to the North East is not his main concern.
“Tony Mowbray was very keen to get Jason Scotland but they couldn’t afford him. So I don’t know where they are getting the money for Grant from.
“But I think Middlesbrough would take him – I think most Championship clubs would take him. He has got a lot of thinking to do and that is why it wouldn’t be wise to say to him we need a decision now, take it or leave it.”
Jewell admitted he had expected Leadbitter to leave on a free at the turn of the year, before his recent excellent performances in the heart of the Town midfield changed everything.
Now Ipswich are giving their man as much time as possible to decide on his future with both Jewell and owner Marcus Evans making a direct effort to convince Leadbitter that he should remain in Suffolk.
“We had a good hour conversation about my plans for Ipswich Town and we both agreed that it would not have been so long ago that I probably thought it might have been best Grant had moved on – and he thought the same,” said Jewell, who now wants a decision by the end of the season.
“Over the last couple of months, he has shown what he is capable of and both our minds have changed. He seems a lot happier in myself so all of a sudden, he has a big, big decision to make.”