Sunderland's new era of strict wagecontrol could see them miss out on Grant Leadbitter this summer withChampionship clubs circling for his signature.
Nottingham Forest are just one of a handful of clubs battling withSunderland to land Grant Leadbitter this summer. And the Black Cats could miss out on landing the Boro midfielder because they can't match his wage expectations.
The Nottingham Post report that Aitor Karanka is keen to work with the 32-year-old again after the pair spent five years working together on Teesside. Ipswich are also thought to be interested in signing Leadbitter with Middlesbrough said to be willing to allow him to leave for a nominal fee.
Leadbitter will expect around £15,000-a-week which is way north of what the Black Cats are thought to be offering, and neither side is budging.
New Sunderland chiefs Donald Stewart and Charlie Methven have been clear that getting the club's wage bill and operating costs under control is a key priority this summer and so far, they're nowhere near meeting Leadbitter's wage demands.
That stance means the former England U21 international looks set to remain in the Championship, though with a year left on his deal at the Riverside, a loan deal involving Boro paying some of his wages is, theoretically, an option.
The Fencehouses lad emerged from the Sunderland academy in 2003, making his debut as a 16-year-old. He then played over 100 games for the Black Cats under Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane.
Leadbitter made 32 league appearances for Middlesbrough last season and scored against us at the Stadium of Light in February.