Leeds hope to cut wage bill by loaning Viduka to PSG

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The Independent Football

Mark Viduka, Leeds United's Australian striker, is considering a loan move to the French club Paris St-Germain when the transfer window opens in January.

Talks about a transfer have begun and any deal is likely to give PSG the option of signing Viduka permanently. The mercurial striker has only scored twice for Leeds in their difficult start to the season, and his relationship with the manager, Peter Reid, is rumoured to be strained after Viduka was substituted in their last two home games.

The 28-year-old is reported to earn £60,000-a-week at Leeds and even if PSG only paid half of that salary for six months, it will slash £1.5m off the club's payroll. Reid would also have scope to bring in several players to reinforce his side's struggle against relegation.

Viduka, who was signed from Celtic for £6m three years ago, has previously been linked with other French clubs, as well as several Italian sides. He is contracted to Leeds for another three seasons, and with the club expected to announce significant financial losses next week, his wages are a large handicap. However, as Viduka is out of form they cannot expect to find a buyer straightaway, so a loan deal may be the best option. The main hurdle will be how much PSG are prepared to pay in wages.

Leeds are close to finalising the appointment of Trevor Birch as their chief executive, with a number of details to be finalised over the next few days.

It is expected that Birch, who was formerly with Chelsea prior to Peter Kenyon's recent arrival at Stamford Bridge, will officially be appointed next Tuesday when Leeds make public their latest year-end accounts.

The Leeds striker Michael Bridges is confident they can extend Liverpool's poor run of results this Saturday when he hopes to face his close friend Harry Kewell.

Bridges and Kewell have remained in contact since the Australia winger's controversial £5m move to Liverpool in the summer. Saturday's game at Anfield gives Kewell his first opportunity to face his former Elland Road team-mates following six years at Leeds. But Bridges has warned there will be no love lost for the 90 minutes the two sides face each another, with the visitors determined that Kewell does not enjoy a productive game.

"Harry's doing well at Liverpool and he's enjoying it there," Bridges said, after scoring his fourth goal in six reserve games on Tuesday in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

"We were good mates and we still keep in touch. It was sad to see him go, but come Saturday he won't be a friend there'll be no favours. The lads have played against him so we know what he can do, which is a bit of a plus.

"Players always seem to score against their old team," Bridges added, "but hopefully we'll keep him quiet and he will have an off day."

While Leeds continue to hover above the bottom three following a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday, Liverpool are also struggling as Gérard Houllier's side have lost their last three league matches.

Bridges is hoping Liverpool are "vulnerable", adding: "We did well against Manchester United and deserved more than we got The lads were devastated in the dressing-room. They thought we deserved a point because everybody worked hard.

"If we can take that to Anfield I think we can come away with something," he insisted. "We're looking for a similar defensive effort. If we can go into it the same as Manchester United then we hope it will come good. The players are all behind the gaffer and hopefully we can go and get a result."

Blackburn Rovers' struggles have not been helped by the news that they are likely to be without their Italian centre-half Lorenzo Amoruso until January. Amoruso has had keyhole surgery that showed he needs work done on a knee that will put him out until the New Year.

There was another blow for the Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, whose side have slipped to 15th in the Premiership, when he discovered that the midfielder David Thompson will be suspended for one game after picking up a fifth booking in the 1-0 home defeat to Charlton Athletic on Monday.