EXCLUSIVE: Boro to supplement star’s wages to join Sunderland

Middlesbrough are considering whether to subsidize Grant Leadbitter’s return to Sunderland – after learning the Black Cats could only afford to pay 25% of his wages, we can reveal.

The 33-year-old midfielder is way down Tony Pulis’ pecking and reports that the experienced midfielder is closing on a free-transfer return to League One Sunderland are well documented.

We exclusively revealed back in May that a return to the Stadium of Light was in the offing, but, at the time, the two clubs were unable to reach an agreement.

But despite being able to land Leadbitter on a free transfer, we can reveal that Sunderland can only afford to pay the midfielder £5,000 a week – with Boro likely to have to make up the shortfall on his £20,000 a week deal at The Riverside, which still has six months left to run.

We understand, therefore, that Sunderland will take over Leadbitter’s contract until the end of the season – with Middlesbrough continuing to pay him £15,000 a week until June 30, when his contract expires.

Despite dropping into League One, all parties are in agreement that this is the best move going forwards, with Boro now deciding if they’re willing to subsidize 75% of his salary and allowing him to join the Black Cats.

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Pulis is looking to use the place in his squad created by Leadbitter’s exit by bringing in former Chelsea star, John Obi Mikel. We can also reveal Pulis sees the Nigerian as playing in a No 10 role – rather than the defensive midfield slot he made his own in over a decade at Chelsea.

Sunderland, meanwhile, have agreed to sell highly-rated star Josh Maja deal to Bordeaux. That fee has been set at £3.5million, although will be paid in instalments. The player has agreed deal that will double the salary on offer at the Stadium of Light.


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