Fulham are leading Premiership rivals Southampton and Manchester City in a £1million chase for the Elland Road skipper.

The Cottagers have made an initial approach for Matteo, 30, and will follow up with a firm bid.

Matteo, a former Scottish international defender, moved to Elland Road in a £4.75m switch from Liverpool four years ago.

Leeds need to slash their £38m-a-year wage bill after dropping into Division One and Matteo is one of their big earners on £25,000 a week.

Leeds United have already rejected a season-long loan offer from Manchester City for Matteo.

The relegated west Yorkshire outfit are off-loading all their big earners, but would prefer the cash instead to ease their massive debts.

Manager Kevin Keegan has no money at his disposal – not even the £1million it would take to buy the 30-year-old Scot.