Football: Kovacevic set to leave Wednesday for Sociedad

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday's Yugoslavian international striker, Darko Kovacevic, is set to join the Spanish club Real Sociedad in a deal worth around pounds 2.5m.

Wednesday's manager, David Pleat, yesterday confirmed that talks had taken place in Sheffield between Wednesday and officials from Sociedad. He refused to elaborate except to say: "There may be an announcement early next week."

However, Spanish sources say that a deal has been agreed and that Wednesday will recoup the pounds 2.5m that they paid to Red Star Belgrade for the striker last October. The transfer depends on Kovacevic agreeing personal terms. He is set to fly to Spain for talks today and is thought to be eager to move.

Kovacevic's Yugoslavian colleague at Wednesday, the pounds 2m defender Dejan Stefanovic, could be next to go after the Department of Employment refused to renew his work permit.

Neither Yugoslav has been able to hold down a regular place with Wednesday and Pleat will use the money to strengthen a side which narrowly escaped relegation last season. Pleat added: "He was keen on the move before Sociedad came in. Sometimes it is very difficult when you buy people from abroad, but you live and learn."

Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds United manager, returns from holiday next week to continue his rebuilding programme at Elland Road, but the Scotland captain, Gary McAllister, is likely to be staying with the club despite speculation to the contrary. McAllister is a reported pounds 3m target for both Arsenal and Rangers, but it is unlikely that Wilkinson will tempt the wrath of the Leeds supporters by selling him.