Football: Brealey anxious to sell Deane

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The Independent Online
BRIAN DEANE may still become a Leeds United player this week - if Reg Brealey, the Sheffield United chairman, can overcome objections from fellow directors to accepting a pounds 2.7m offer from the Elland Road club, writes Rupert Metcalf.

'I have the casting vote and I have to make the decision,' Brealey said yesterday. 'The buck stops with me. Someone has to grasp the nettle and sort out the club's financial problems.'

The transfer of the England striker appeared to have been settled last week, when it was reported that the Blades had accepted the Leeds offer. Sheffield United then raised their asking price to pounds 3.5m and their chief executive, Derek Dooley, alleged that another Premier League club had made a bid higher than the one from Leeds.

However, the Bramall Lane club have been unable to identify the other interested party, and it seems that Brealey is anxious to conclude the sale. At a board meeting on Friday evening, the directors were split 3-3 on accepting the bid from Leeds. If Deane goes to their Yorkshire rivals, some directors (including Bernard Proctor and Dooley) may resign.

Across the city, Sheffield Wednesday are hoping to sign the England international defender, Des Walker, this week. They are close to agreeing a pounds 2.5m deal with Walker's Italian club, Sampdoria, who bought him from Nottingham Forest last summer but were unable to guarantee him a first-team place in Serie A last term. John Harkes, Wednesday's United States international, has rejected a new contract offer.

The Polish football association yesterday stripped Legia Warsaw of the 1992/93 championship and are to award the title to Lech Poznan, who had been placed third in the final table. Legia and second- placed LKS Lodz were both docked two points due to allegations of match-fixing on the last day of the season.

Needing big wins to boost their goal-difference margins, Legia won their final match 6-0 while LKS won 7-1. Lech finished two points behind the top two but had a better goal difference.