Leeds United will be forced to pay as much as £2.5million in compensation to Brighton Hove Albion in order to appoint Gus Poyet as their next manager.

The Yorkshire Post reports that Poyet has the seven-figure clause in his contract which could complicate matters if Leeds attempt to lure him back to Elland Road.

Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet has impressed in his first managerial role with Brighton. [Reuters]

Poyet previously worked at the club as assistant manager to Dennis Wise back in 2006 and became somewhat of a cult hero among the Leeds supporters.

Since making the move into management Poyet has excelled with Brighton, winning the League One Manager of the Year award at the end of the 2010/11 season after securing automatic promotion with four games to spare.

Poyet has continued to excel in The Championship and will have genuine hopes of leading his side into the play-offs. Currently occupying sixth place, and with just six games remaining, he will be confident of holding off a late charge from the likes of Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough.

Given Brighton's chances of winning promtion to the Premier League, it will be extremely difficult to persuade Poyet to make the move back to Leeds who have slid down to 12th place after losing their last three games, a run which led to the departure of Neil Warnock as manager on Monday.

Poyet has previously spoken of his desire to manage the Yorkshire club and was reportedly unhappy at not being considered for the vacant mangers role when Gary McAllister was sacked back in 2008.

"On the day after McAllister went I said to my wife 'if Leeds want me, we go north tomorrow'," said Poyet. "She said 'okay, no problem.' I was ready to do it and I wanted to do it. I miss Leeds."

Leeds' new owners, GFH Capital, are desperate to lead the club back into the top flight for the first time since 2004 and it would be a major statement of intent if they were prepared to meet Poyet's release clause in order to bring him to the club.

Poyet was handed permission to meet with Reading just a matter of weeks ago, after Brian McDermott was dismissed, but the 45-year-opted to remain at Brighton rather than move to the relegation-threatened Royals.

With Poyet showing such loyalty to Albion, it is reported that Leeds may decide to wait until the end of the season in order to see if Brighton remain in the Championship, before approaching the Uruguayan.

Since Warnock stepped down a host of managers have been linked with the vacant role. Former Reading boss McDermott remains the favourite with the bookmakers but it is believed that ex-Sunderland man Martin O'Neill and former Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle are also under consideration.