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By ESPN Staff

Bates opens door on Smith return

Leeds chairman Ken Bates will not rule out the possibility of Newcastle midfielder Alan Smith returning to Elland Road.

But Bates warned any chance of a move for Smith would hinge on the 30-year-old's fitness and wage demands after reportedly being told he can leave St James' Park.

"First of all it depends on whether the manager (Simon Grayson) wants him or not, which is his decision and not mine," Bates told Yorkshire Radio.

"Alan Smith returning to Elland Road would be a very popular move, but we have to be careful because unfortunately over the last few seasons Alan's had a pretty poor injury record and one thing we can't afford to do is sign somebody who is not fit to play.

"The other thing of course is Alan Smith's wages. He's been at Manchester United and Newcastle, so his wages are probably in the stratosphere, well over the seven-figure region, so I suspect if he did join us he would have to knock a nought off it and probably half it, which may not suit him or his agent.

"But on the other hand nothing is certain and nothing is uncertain. I can confirm we're certainly continuing our quest for the right players and if he was fit of course Alan would be a great addition to the squad, but that would need further consideration and investigation by Simon."

Smith scored on his debut for his hometown club aged 18 at Liverpool in 1998, but was sold for £7million to arch-rivals Manchester United in 2004 during Leeds' financial meltdown and suffered an horrific leg break at Anfield in 2006.

He moved on to Newcastle for £6 million in 2007, but was restricted to only 14 appearances last season due to an ankle injury.

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