Football: Bramall Lane veto for Deane deal: Leeds' bid for striker of around pounds 3m 'a long way short'

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The Independent Online
LEEDS UNITED last night accused Sheffield United of trying to involve them in an auction for Brian Deane after the Bramall Lane club announced that Leeds' offer for their England striker, believed to be around pounds 3m, was not acceptable after all.

On Monday evening the Leeds chairman, Leslie Silver, trumpeted his club's record capture, and was clearly under the impression that he had agreed a fee with his opposite number at Sheffield, Reg Brealey. Not so, Brealey countered yesterday.

'All I said was that the offer would be recommended to the board but had to be approved by them,' he said. 'I'm sorry if Leeds jumped the gun for publicity purposes.'

Brealey's board later rejected the bid, which the Sheffield chief executive, Derek Dooley, said 'fell a long way short' of their valuation for the Leeds-born Deane. He claimed another Premier League club had since made a higher offer but that too had been turned down.

Silver responded brusquely. 'We will not get involved in an auction or the internal politics of Sheffield United. I talked to their chairman, who is an honourable man, on a one-to-one basis. We raised our price from what was already a serious offer, and Reg told me the deal was acceptable. We'd very much like Brian in our squad but if the current bid is not accepted then the matter is closed. When they start putting up silly numbers - and they haven't even given us a figure - we're not interested.'

Mick Harford ended a sojourn with Sunderland by making Coventry his 10th club in a pounds 200,000 deal. Coventry also recruited Steve Morgan, the Plymouth left-back, for pounds 110,000.

Nottingham Forest returned to training yesterday - without Roy Keane, who has been given an extra week off by the new manager, Frank Clark, because of recent international commitments. Before leaving, the Irishman told Clark he did not wish to sign for Arsenal, who are ready to pay pounds 4m for him.

'Roy made it clear Manchester United are the only club he wants to join,' Clark said. 'But they'll have to come up with more money than is on the table at the moment.' United have offered pounds 3.5m, while Blackburn have also made a bid.

Gary Bull, the Barnet striker, last night joined Forest on a free transfer in preference to West Ham.