Leeds dismiss striker exit claims

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Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has dismissed reports suggesting striker Luciano Becchio could be sold to Middlesbrough.

The Argentine striker has been far from prolific at Elland Road this season, although injuries have hampered the 27-year-old's progress dramatically.

With only two goals in 17 games, whispers have surfaced about a possible move to the Riverside, but Bates has moved swiftly to counteract the claims made in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"I don't mind somebody floating the idea from Middlesbrough because it's the usual way they tap up players these days of course, but if they think we are going to sell (Becchio) to our probably closest competitor for promotion they must be out of their tiny minds," said the former Chelsea owner.

"Apart from which, I read Tony Mowbray saying that their chairman isn't a bottomless pit and they haven't got much money anyway so they wouldn't be able to afford him anyway, if we were inclined to sell him, which we're not."

Bates also spoke to Yorkshire Radio on a number of other issues, and admitted captain Jonny Howson is likely to be out of action for months with a knee problem picked up against Millwall.

"It was a fairly innocuous situation. I was talking to Jonny a couple of days ago and I'm not even sure he was tackled. He just fell awkwardly," he added.

"I blame the shoes. We don't know the extent of Jonny's length of treatment yet but it is going to be two to three months."

Leeds United
Luciano Becchio

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