Gradi slammed in McAuley row
By Stephen Bateman
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Dario Gradi has been blasted for his handling of Gareth McAuley's on-off move to Crewe.
Gareth McAuley's agent has slammed Dario Gradi for his handling of the defender's proposed move to Crewe Alexandra.
The Lincoln City stopper had looked all set for a switch to Gresty Road after The Imps recently accepted a £150,000 transfer bid.
But the deal subsequently hit the skids after Gradi blasted: "I spoke to an agent during the week who said he wouldn't want to sell anyone to Crewe because we try not to pay the agent fees."
Now the agent in question, former Wolves hero Mel Eves, has told Sky Sports that he is neither demanding a fee from the club, nor has he even spoken to the Alex boss.
"Gareth asked Dario Gradi to speak to me but he has declined to do so," he told skysports.com.
"I spoke to assistant manager Neil Baker and I was made aware of the club's wage structure.
"Gareth McAuley has made his own enquiries about the club in that he has spoken to other players who have experience of playing with Crewe, and he has decided for now to stay with Lincoln City.
"That is not to say that he has closed the door on Crewe. It's Crewe's prerogative to close the door if that is what they wish to do.
"I resent Dario Gradi's inference that I am trying to scupper the deal by asking for an agent's fee and I would ask him to retract that statement.
"I find it offensive that he has called my integrity into question."
The breakdown in negotiations between McAuley and The Railwaymen could be playing directly into the hands of Championship rivals Leicester City.
The Foxes are understood to be monitoring the situation closely and, should the deal fall through, they are reportedly prepared to offer the highly-rated Northern Ireland international the opportunity to ply his trade on a bigger stage.