Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi admits the club can't afford to keep star striker Clayton Donaldson.

The 27-year-old has scored 20 goals this season and has been highly tipped to move on from The Railwaymen this summer.

Such has been Donaldson's impact in League Two not only has he been nicknamed 'Donaldinho' after Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, and those same supporters are praying the club retain his services at Gresty Road, but Gradi isn't optimistic.

"The budget will be cut in the summer, but we still need to sell. We were looking at £1.5m losses, but it's down to manageable figures," said Gradi.

"A lot don't think logically about this. When they were talking about Clayton Donaldson at the supporters' meeting they were saying couldn't we find the money to pay his contract. I'm thinking 'are they going to make a contribution?'"


Crewe were able to keep hold of Donaldson in the January transfer window but appear certain to lose the forward, who is in the final year of his contract, as the club look to make cuts this summer.

"We're not trying to sell Clayton. I'd rather keep him here and have him help our promotion push," Gradi said in January.

"While you do worry about losing players, it brings much-needed finance to the club."

Although genuine interest is yet to have been registered with The Alex, Gradi said earlier in the season that Donaldson was good enough for a move to The Championship.

Given the success of Brett Pitman, Albert Adomah and Dean Moxey who have all made similar moves in recent seasons, there's no question the 6ft 1in striker would make a similarly positive impact.

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