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Football: United sign pounds 1m Dublin

DION DUBLIN, the striker once given a free transfer by Norwich City, put an end to another pre-season tug-of-war yesterday when he agreed to move from Cambridge United to Manchester United for pounds 1m, writes Rupert Metcalf.

The 23-year-old will sign a four-year contract at Old Trafford today, assuming he passes his medical examination. Appropriately, Dublin's debut for United is likely to be in Dublin, against a Republic of Ireland XI on Sunday.

Having lost out to Blackburn Rovers in the race to sign Alan Shearer from Southampton, United will be relieved to have beaten Chelsea and Everton in the battle to secure Dublin's services.

'The boy has made a decision which pleases me immensely,' Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said. 'He is a good finisher. If we had scored a few more last season we might have won the League.' The pounds 1m fee will be increased by pounds 300,000 if Dublin wins an England cap while with United.

'When you look at the quality of players who will be round me, it's got to be the best move for my career,' Dublin said. 'All three clubs were very good to me and money was not a consideration when it came to making a decision because they offered similar deals.'

Crystal Palace have had a pounds 1.5m bid for Wimbledon's Republic of Ireland full-back Terry Phelan rejected, but are expected to make an improved offer to their tenants at Selhurst Park for the versatile left-sided player, who cost the Dons pounds 100,000 from Swansea in 1987. Leyton Orient's Greg Berry, also a left-flank player, is another Palace target.

Gordon Strachan, the Leeds United midfielder who has had a back operation during the close season, played the entire second-half of Wednesday's 2-0 win over Stromsgodset, of Norway, and may take part in tomorrow's Charity Shield match against Liverpool at Wembley. Scott Sellars is doubtful, however, with a thigh injury.

Before their tour match, in which Gary McAllister and Eric Cantona were the scorers, Leeds completed the signing of Frank Strandli, a 19-year-old Norwegian international striker from IK Start. He will move to Elland Road when Norway's season ends in October.