Leeds United are ready to make a 'formal attempt' to re-sign Alan Smith, according to reports.
The boyhood Whites fan, who controversially left Elland Road for Manchester United after their relegation back in 2004, has found first team opportunities at Newcastle United limited following the arrival of Cheik Tiote at St. James' Park.
The Northern Echo claims Smith has been deemed surplus to requirements with the Magpies, with owner Mike Ashley and manager Alan Pardew keen to get the high-earner off the club's large wage bill.
It's later claimed in the report that Newcastle will let the player leave the club on a free transfer, despite Smith having another year left on his contract with the Toon.
Leeds boss Simon Grayson admitted last week that he would consider bringing old players back to the club, with Smith, Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer all possible targets.
"I have had conversations, though not necessarily with the players themselves. That is how it is in football," Grayson told the Yorkshire Post when asked if there had been direct contact with Smith and Woodgate.
"If anything, it has more been agents ringing me, or people claiming to represent them. There are plenty asking the question and we have to consider it because when good players become available you have to be interested.
"Jonathan has not played too much football and Alan missed quite a bit of last season. If you had a fit Jonathan Woodgate and a fit Alan Smith then you would have a host of clubs queueing up for them in the Premier League."
Grayson's comments came in the wake of those from Leeds United chairman Ken Bates, who has previously claimed that the club would welcome Smith back should he decide to return.
The key issue appears to hinge on if Leeds sign the player or loan him from Newcastle, with both parties paying half the players wages in the second option.
Should Smith sign for Leeds, he would need to take a pay cut in the region of half of his weekly wages, which is currently reported to be at £55,000 a-week in The Northern Echo.
Another Npower Championship club have contacted Newcastle United over the player, but his ties to Leeds United make them favourites to land the player should he decide to move down a division.
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