Max leaving with heavy heart

Ivory Coast ace admits it was a 'difficult' decision to leave

Gradel: Expected to seal his St Etienne switch on transfer deadline day

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Max Gradel has conceded he is leaving Leeds United with a heavy heart ahead of his expected switch to St Etienne on transfer deadline day.

The Ivory Coast international submitted a transfer request ahead of the Whites accepting an offer from the French top-flight side on Tuesday.

Gradel is undertaking a routine medical with St Etienne ahead of sealing a move to a team currently sitting eighth in the Ligue 1 table.

Rivals Sochaux were also keen to land the talented 23-year-old, however, their offer was ultimately rebuffed by Leeds.

The ex-Leicester City man proved a hugely popular player during his 18 months at Elland Road and he admits it was a 'difficult' decision.

Heavy heart

"It is with a heavy heart that I have asked to leave Leeds United," he told the club's official website.

"It was a difficult decision for me as Leeds has been a wonderful place to live and to play football.

"However, I have made the decision based on my career development, and the opportunity to play at the highest level in France is too big an opportunity to turn down.

"I want to thank all the Leeds United fans who loyally follow the team up and down the country as you have made my time at the club very special. I also want to thank Simon Grayson, my team-mates, and everyone at the club for all your help and support, and giving me the opportunity to play for this great club.

"I am sure that it will not be long before Leeds United return to the Premier League and I wish you every success in the future."