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Leeds United cancel Jermaine Beckford's contract early

Jermaine Beckford
Jermaine Beckford hit a prolific 85 goals in 152 games with Leeds United

Leeds United have cancelled Jermaine Beckford's contract early following reports that he is set to join Everton.

Beckford's current deal with Leeds was set to expire at the end of June.

But the decision appears to pave the way for the 26-year-old, last season's 31-goal top scorer for Leeds, to seal a first move to the Premier League.

Having first said he wanted to leave at the end of last year, Leeds turned down a reported £1.5m offer from Newcastle during the January window.

London-born Beckford withdrew his transfer request soon after, but was then understood to have signed a pre-contract agreement with Everton.

Speaking to the club's website Beckford said: " I've enjoyed every single moment. I have had an amazing time here.

"You don't see as much as I've seen in four and half years at Leeds and I'm so proud to say I was here. I really loved it.

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"The fans have been amazing and they have opened up my eyes to what football should be about.

"The management are amazing, the staff behind the scenes. This club will always be a special place."

Leeds manager Simon Grayson had hoped to persuade Beckford to stay with the offer of an improved deal after the striker's winner at Elland Road on the final day of the season against Bristol Rovers clinched automatic promotion to the Championship.

"I got in the changing rooms and put my head in my hands and the tears dripped down my face," he admitted. "It felt like such a weight had been lifted. It's what we've been searching for, for the past three years."

But the lure of a direct route straight to the Premier League appears too much for Beckford to ignore.

Following Leeds' decision, this could soon be a reality. But Everton have refused to comment on reports that the former Wealdstone forward, who has scored 65 goals in his last two seasons for Leeds, was holding talks with them.



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