Football: Chapman in demand as Leeds rebuild

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The Independent Online
WEST HAM and Portsmouth, who went to the wire together in the struggle for promotion last May, are again vying with each other - this time for the services of Lee Chapman, the striker for sale at Leeds United.

Chapman, 33, has been the leading scorer for Leeds in each of their last three campaigns, but was made available following their abject defence of the championship. Howard Wilkinson has since bought a centre-forward, Brian Deane, paving the way for Chapman's departure.

Portsmouth view the pounds 200,000- rated Chapman as a ready-made replacement for Guy Whittingham, who made his Aston Villa debut in a friendly at Walsall last night after completing a move in which the Hampshire club received pounds 875,000 plus the midfielder, Mark Blake.

However, Chapman's relatively cheap price tag and proven record as a marksman has also alerted West Ham, giving him the chance to play on in the top flight. He is also likely to talk to two other First Division clubs.

Arsenal have abandoned their attempt to recruit Andy Sinton, the Queen's Park Rangers and England utility player. Like Sheffield Wednesday's Trevor Francis, George Graham considers Rangers' pounds 3m valuation prohibitive. 'It is dead,' he said, 'but any deal can be resurrected.'

Barnet, who have only five registered professionals, were last night cleared to sign newcomers when the Football League lifted the transfer embargo imposed because of non-payment of players.

Ivan Golac, the new Dundee United manager, last night finalised the signing of Chris Myers, the Torquay midfielder, for pounds 90,000. Golac has also offered pounds 250,000 for the Raith Rovers forward, Craig Brewster.

Second and Third Division clubs will receive pounds 100m towards ground improvements, to be distributed by the Football Trust, following the Government's announcement yesterday that it is to extend the 2 per cent reduction in Pools levy for a further five years from March 1995. Lord Aberdare, for the Trust, said it would allocate around pounds 20m a year to 'those clubs whose needs are greatest.'

Milan, the Italian champions, will have to play their first home match of the new season at a neutral venue following crowd misbehaviour during last season's final game, against Sampdoria. The condition of Gianluigi Lentini, Milan's Italian international winger, was improving yesterday after he suffered serious head injuries in a car crash on Monday.