Austrian defender opts to join Leeds

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The Independent Online
LEEDS UNITED have signed the Austrian Under-21 international Martin Hiden for pounds 1.5m.

The Rapid Vienna defender, who chose to go to Elland Road over a rival bid from Liverpool, will go straight into the first-team squad and could figure in the FA Cup. He is due to complete the deal today and will be eligible for the quarter-finals.

Sheffield Wednesday have signed the Everton right-back, Earl Barrett, on a free transfer to replace Ian Nolan, who is out for the season with a broken leg. Barrett, 30, had begun a second loan spell at Sheffield United but was recalled by Everton when Wednesday offered a permanent deal. Barrett, set to make his debut at Derby on Saturday, was signed from Oldham by the current Wednesday manager, Ron Atkinson, six years ago for pounds 1.7m at Aston Villa from Oldham.

Atkinson is also trying to sign Steve Staunton, the Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland defender, on a free transfer at the end of the season, with the lure of a pounds 2m contract. Wednesday can pick up Staunton for nothing when his contract expires, and are willing to pay him around pounds 13,000 a week for three seasons.

Gerry McMahon, the Stoke City winger, is discussing personal terms with St Johnstone after the clubs agreed an pounds 85,000 fee yesterday. If the Northern Ireland international makes the move, he will join Davide Xausa, a Canadian who signed for the Scottish Premier Division club yesterday until the end of the season after having his trial at Stoke cancelled.

Three of Ireland's senior clubs, all Dublin-based, today condemned Clydebank's decision to try to relocate to the Republic. Shelbourne and Bohemians, who finished second and third in the League last season, are vehemently opposed to the proposal as are University College, Dublin.

Homeless Clydebank, who are attracting an average gate of 286 at Dumbarton's ground, say they have an arrangement to lease the Royal Dublin Society Arena from next season.

Shelbourne's secretary, Ollie Byrne, said: "We are treating Clydebank's proposal as a joke. It hasn't got a dog's chance. It is not a runner and has no credence at all. What this proposal does do is undermine the credibility of the structure of the League of Ireland and that makes me angry. Say Juventus or Milan wanted to leave the Italian League and relocate to Spain, it wouldn't be allowed to happen."

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