Leadbitter set for Sunderland after rejecting Ipswich, plus speculation surrounding ex-Blues duo Moore and Clarke

PUBLISHED: 11:06 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:06 25 January 2019

Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter reportedly rejected the chance to sign for Ipswich Town earlier this month. Photo: PA

Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter reportedly rejected the chance to sign for Ipswich Town earlier this month. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter has reportedly turned down Ipswich Town for the chance rejoin his boyhood club Sunderland.

Sunderland are said to be interested in former Ipswich Town striker Kieffer Moore. Photo: PASunderland are said to be interested in former Ipswich Town striker Kieffer Moore. Photo: PA

The Northern Echo reports that Championship trio Ipswich, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers all made formal approaches to sign a player in the last six months of his contract, but that Leadbitter – who has made just one Championship start this season – rejected them all.

Instead, the 33-year-old will be dropping down to League One as the Black Cats, currently third in the table under manager Jack Ross, push for a quickfire return to the second-tier.

MORE: ‘The future of the club is about the young players’ – Lambert on short-term signings replacing homegrown players

Leadbitter made 123 appearances for Sunderland, helping them to promotion to the Premier League under Roy Keane in 2007.

Portsmouth's Matthew Clarke (right) has been linked to Stoke. Photo: PAPortsmouth's Matthew Clarke (right) has been linked to Stoke. Photo: PA

Keane later brought him to Portman Road for £2.6m and he made 126 appearances for the Blues between 2009 and 2012 before making a Bosman free transfer move to Middlesbrough.

MORE: ‘I don’t think anybody else will be leaving’ – Lambert says Jackson, Nolan, Harrison and Edwards have parts to play

Meanwhile, Sunderland are also said to be interested in former Town striker Kieffer Moore.

The Blues turned a quick and tidy profit on the towering front man, signing him from Forest Green for £10k in January 2017, loaning him to Rotherham and then and selling him to Barnsley for £750k a year later.

MORE: ‘I love playing football’ - Collins says he could stay with Town in League One

The 26-year-old has scored 15 goals in League One for the fifth-place Tykes this season.

He is said to be on Sunderland’s list of striker targets but that Wigan’s Will Grigg is their prime target.

Elsewhere, Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett has ruled out selling Matt Clarke following reports that Stoke City were prepared to make a £6m bid.

Centre-back Clarke, 22, came through the Ipswich Town academy before moving to Pompey in a player-plus-cash (£700k) deal for Adam Webster in 2016. Ipswich are understood to have a 20% sell-on clause on the player.

MORE: Lambert ‘sick’ of short-term fixing and keen to build something at Ipswich Town

Jackett, whose team sit top of the League One table, said: “First off, we’re not interested in selling him. Secondly, we’ve not had an inquiry or a bid.

“We’re not interested in selling Matt Clarke. We’re not interested, that’s the case. It’s not anything we’d entertain. He’s not for sale.”

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