Leeds favourite touted for Bournemouth move - Three questions and reaction

St Etienne

Former Leeds United favourite Max Gradel has been linked with Eddie Howe's Bournemouth in a potential Championship return.

According to the Bournemouth Echo, the Cherries have been linked with former Leeds United fans favourite Max Gradel, who is currently on international duty at the World Cup with the Ivory Coast.

The report states: ‘Gradel became a firm favourite with Cherries supporters when he enjoyed a fruitful stay in Dorset on a temporary transfer from Leicester City in 2007-08.

‘He returned to Leicester to help them win League One in 2009 before going on to star for Leeds as they clinched promotion to the Championship the following season. He has a year left on his contract and is rumoured to be a target for a number of Premier League clubs, including newly-promoted Leicester.’

The 26-year-old was in emphatic form for the French side last term, despite a disjointed season that saw him in and out of the Saint-Etienne team for one reason or another. He scored five goals and claimed five assists in 18 appearances in Ligue One, which includes two assists in the French side’s last game.

Leeds United have been consistently linked to their former golden boy ever since news that he may leave France came out in public, but haven’t been mentioned with Bournemouth in the fresh report to have interest in the fleet-footed winger.

We take a look at three questions that have been asked amid the speculation linking Gradel to a Championship return, and the reaction surrounding the player’s potential return.

Is Gradel returning to the Championship a realistic possibility?

He has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs, which the report acknowledges, and his lofty reputation hasn’t really took enough of a dive for him to think a second division club is his future. Nevertheless, it depends on what sort of offer is on the table for the Ivorian and whether it’s realistic for Bournemouth to pay that kind of money.

Why aren’t Leeds reportedly in for him?

Ever since Cellino came into the club, the emphasis has been on the cutting the wage bill down to a sustainable level and Gradel will more than likely fall outside their wage bracket.

As good as he is, if Massimo Cellino is ever going to get the finances in order at Elland Road, something he feels strongly about, he will have to scout hard to find the players in a similar situation to Gradel during his first transfer to Leeds rather than the now.

Can Bournemouth afford Gradel?

The simple answer is yes; they have extremely rich owners.

Nevertheless, Financial Fair Play is still something to be wary of for the south coast club as they look to invest enough in the team for a substantial push for promotion next season. The Cherries can be incredibly proud of their 10th place finish last time round, and will now look to build upon that for upcoming season.

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