Leeds deny agreeing £15m fee with Lazio for Dacourt

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The Independent Football

Confusion surrounded the future of the Leeds United midfielder Olivier Dacourt yesterday after the Lazio owner Massimo Cragnotti declared he had reached a verbal agreement to sign the Frenchman, only for the Elland Road club – and the player's agent – to deny all talk of a deal. Lazio claimed yesterday morning that they had "reached an agreement" regarding the 27-year-old and that a reported 25m euro (£15.5m) transfer was pending.

Cragnotti, amid suggestions he had met with the Leeds chairman, Peter Ridsdale, in Rome on Tuesday night, said: "There is a verbal agreement, but there is nothing written down. But I believe that both clubs will reach an agreement."

However, Leeds were keen to play down reports that anything had been agreed and adding that the club were "reluctant to decide their close season restructure" until the end of the season. That restructuring – Leeds have recently admitted they will have to sell players in the summer if they do not qualify for European competition next season – has thrown Dacourt's future into doubt in recent weeks.

However, Dacourt's agent, Bruno Satin, insisted his player was happy in England and knew nothing about a prospective transfer. He said: "I can assure you at the moment there is absolutely no agreement regarding a possible move for Olivier from Lazio. The first priority of Lazio is to sell players and the intention of Olivier is to stay in Leeds. It is pure speculation.

"He's very happy in England in Leeds, he's very popular with the fans and his only aim at the moment is to get fourth place and a Champions' League position. The boy is happy in Leeds. He is very settled in his life."

Everton say they are hoping to sell David Ginola before next Thursday's transfer deadline, but will honour his contract until the end of the season if no offers for the Frenchman are forthcoming.

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