Midfielder Adam Clayton has been told he could still have a future at Leeds United despite being transfer listed by manager Neil Warnock.
The Manchester-born 23-year-old was one of the surprise names in yesterday’s cull as 11 players were told by Warnock they can leave Elland Road this summer.
Danny Webber, Maik Taylor, Alex Bruce, Lloyd Sam and Mikael Forssell have been told their Whites contracts are not being renewed while Paul Connolly, Paul Rachubka, Andy O’Brien, Billy Paynter, Ramon Nunez and Clayton have all been transfer listed.
Warnock is determined to rebuild his squad over the summer after a disappointing season in the Championship when they finished quite a distance short of the play-offs.
Clayton has been a United regular this season, playing 46 times and scoring six goals, but contract talks between club and player have stalled, with the midfielder having just 12 months left on his current deal.
New deals have been offered to Ross McCormack and Robert Snodgrass, who also have just a year remaining on their contracts.
But Warnock said if no suitable offers come in for Clayton, or the other transfer-listed players, they will be welcomed back for pre-season training to fight for their places.
“Just because players are on the transfer list doesn’t mean they’ll go,” said Warnock, who has already recruited defender Jason Pearce from Portsmouth to start his summer recruitment.
“If we don’t get the offers in we think are acceptable they’ll come back pre-season and fight for their place.
“I’m looking to sign midfield players, and the contract Adam’s representatives were looking for, we weren’t prepared to go to that extent.
“Coming into the last year it makes sense to see if they can get that offer somewhere else and if we can get an appropriate figure it’s the sort of money I can use to improve the squad.
“But if he hasn’t gone, he’ll come back and it’s up to him to show us he can get in the team, get his position, and then he’s in the driving seat going up to Christmas.
“I wouldn’t say to any of the lads it’s a full and final goodbye…it’s something I felt, particularly in Adam’s case, that the best thing is to see how he comes back and how we are at that time.
“We’re signing players now and I’m looking at the players we’re signing, and there’s a couple of offers we’ve made to players that I think are good, whether they accept or not I don’t know, but I felt this needed doing at this time and we’ll cross the bridges as we come to them.
“When you’re talking about so many players there’ll be a few decisions that not everyone agrees with.
“Adam has probably had more games than anyone else, but looking at that area I have my own ideas about players I’d like to bring in and that’s what I’m looking for really.”
Warnock met all his playing staff individually on Wednesday to discuss his decisions and said United had already had some enquiries for his transfer-listed players.
“I’d like to clear the decks a little bit and bring in the fresh faces that we need,” he said.
“I don’t see them playing regularly so rather than keep them – you can’t just release them when they’re on contracts – they know if clubs come in with an offer that we think is acceptable they can go.
“I’ve had some enquiries already so we’ll see how we go. It’s just trying to start early for next season.”
Ben Parker and Mika Vayrynen have already had their Whites contracts cancelled, while on-loan Darren O’Dea was told United would not be making the deal permanent.