Everton in talks with Beckford

Leeds have confirmed they have cancelled the contract of striker Jermaine Beckford to enable him to find a new club, with Everton reported to be holding talks with the player.

The move would appear to pave the way for the 26-year-old, who has refused to sign a new deal at Elland Road, to seal a dream move to the Barclays Premier League. His current deal with Leeds was due to expire later this summer.

Beckford told Leeds he wanted to leave at the end of last year, but the Yorkshire club turned down a reported £1.5million offer from Newcastle during the January transfer window and the player withdrew his transfer request soon after.

But the former Wealdstone forward, who has scored 85 goals in his last three seasons for Leeds, was then understood to have signed a pre-contract agreement with Everton.

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 had clinched automatic promotion to the Championship.

But the lure of a direct route straight to the Premier League appears too much for Beckford and following Leeds' decision this could soon be a reality.

Everton today refused to comment on the reports that Beckford was holding talks with them.