Dacourt backs Juventus' interest and looks for exit

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The Leeds midfielder Olivier Dacourt believes his days at Elland Road are numbered – and he would be happy if a club like Juventus came in for him.

The French midfielder is thought to be one of the "crown jewels" of the chairman, Peter Ridsdale, a player who will not be sold to clear losses of almost £14m in the second half of last year. But Dacourt – sold by Everton to the French side Lens in 1999 to help clear the Merseyside club's debts – feels he, Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Lee Bowyer and Robbie Keane could be cleared out to reduce losses as the club face the strong prospect of missing out on the rewards of Champions' League qualification for the second season running.

"The club has spent a lot of money, but the results do not match the investment," he said. "Leeds will have to sell lots of players in the summer because from what I have been told they need to pay back something like £60m from June.

"Everybody around the club is talking about the fact that Bowyer, Kewell, Viduka, Keane and I will be sold. Leeds spent almost £100m in recent seasons. They brought in some great players and their aim was to win the league.

"But those plans have been blown apart this year. Until January we were in the title race, but since then it has been a catastrophe and people are becoming restless."

The club would certainly not struggle to find interested parties if they did decide to cash in on Dacourt's talents, and the player has already hinted at where he would like to go if he leaves.

"I signed a new contract in the summer until 2006, but it does not mean anything. I decided to stay because I felt good and the club made me vice-captain.

"But if I go, I will go to a great club. The fact that Juventus are interested in me means a lot.

"At the moment there is nothing concrete but when a great club like that shows an interest, you don't close the door on them."

In the women's National Division, Leeds and Doncaster Belles played out a controversial 1-1 draw in the Yorkshire derby. The England striker Karen Walker was sent off for foul and abusive language after 35 minutes, forcing the Belles to play out the rest of the game with 10 players.

Despite being down to 10 players, Belles took the lead on the hour when Jody Handley dispossessed the Leeds defence and broke free, rounding the keeper to score while one of her team-mates lay injured. Leeds claimed they had been trying to put the ball out of play when Handley broke loose but the goal stood. Three minutes later the home side equalised through Lisa Ward.

Arsenal opened up a four-point lead at the top of the table with a 6-0 victory over a depleted Barry Town side. The Welsh team arrived with only 10 players and midway through the first half Lowri Davies was taken off injured. Two minutes after the break Kelly Melville went off with a broken ankle to leave Barry with only eight players.

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