Rotherham United: ‘My experience is that it won’t be done for weeks’ admits Paul Warne on Michael Smth deal

ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Paul Warne is preparing himself for a waiting game in his bid to keep hold of talismanic striker Michael Smith.

The 30-year-old – who scored 25 times in 2021-22 – is out of contract in June and, while the Millers are desperate for him to sign a new deal, Warne accepts that Smith’s representatives are likely to see what is out there in terms of rival offers before the player makes his final decision.

Rotherham are likely to have to make Smith one of the best offers in the club’s history to have a chance of retaining him.

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On whether he expects the situation to be resolved quickly, Warne said: “My Rotherham United answer is I’d like to get it sorted in the next couple of days one way or another. My experience is that it won’t be done for weeks.

In-demand Rotherham United striker Michael Smith. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“I would be amazed if his agent hasn’t made an odd phone call (to other clubs). I would have also thought most managers and recruiters will have said he’s on their list but when, it comes to the crunch, how many people are actually going to offer a deal?

“(But) It won’t go on for weeks and weeks, we won’t come back on July 1 and still be waiting for Smudge to make a decision.

“I wouldn’t expect him to do that to us and if I know in the next few weeks whether it is an absolute no-go, then my job is to try and get someone else in. But, if there is an opportunity, then we will keep negotiating until we know there is no chance.

“I would love to keep him, I would do everything I can to keep him. But if he gets offered something we can’t get near then, regretfully, I would shake his hand and smell him one more time and let him go on his way.

Rotherham United's Michael Smith (left) poses for a photo with a fan after the final whistle at Gillingham. Picture: PA.

“He could not have done any more for us.”

Meanwhile, Warne is to discuss the situation regarding wantaway striker Freddie Ladapo with chairman Tony Stewart and Ladapo’s representatives – and some clarity on his future is likely to arrive next week.

The transfer-listed forward, who scored 15 times in 2021-22, did not feature in the club’s matchday squad for the final three games of the season.

He is out of contract next month, but the club could trigger an additional 12-month option.

Warne added: “Freddie thinks his football life is elsewhere and I’ve got no problem with that.

“I am not here to keep players against their will, but with the chairman, we have got to make a decision that’s right for the football club and it is a decision we will come to and we will speak to him and his representatives next week.”