Leeds ready for Strachan deal

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The Independent Football

Leeds United are ready to enter into "transfer fee" negotiations with Southampton to make Gordon Strachan their new manager.

Alan Leighton, the Leeds plc chairman, will fly back from a business trip to Canada in the next 24 hours before making a formal approach for the former Elland Road legend.

Leighton and his chief executive, Trevor Birch, are due to meet to plan their move, armed with the knowledge that Strachan has just over six months left on his contract and could be tempted "home".

The Saints chairman, Rupert Lowe, will allow Strachan to move if the terms are right. Insiders think he may ask for as much as £1m, although the final settlement figure could be closer to £500,000.

That is still a lot of money for hard-up Leeds, but they have been given cash backing for players and a manager from their Arabian supporter Sheikh Abdul Mubarrak Al-Khalifa as they try to get out of their current plight at the foot of the Premiership.

Bringing back Strachan would be a major lift for all concerned - players, staff and fans. It would also help Leeds in their off-field battles to convince banks and backers that they mean business even nearly £80m in the red.

Strachan is still in the dark about the Leeds interest, but he has had talks with Lowe and knows that money will talk as far as the Southampton chairman is concerned.

Lowe claims that Leeds are not an attractive move for Strachan, but that ignores the emotional pull for the former club captain, and the challenge of taking them out of their depression.

Leeds have been unable to move for the past 48 hours as their key officials have been scattered round the globe, with Leighton and the football club chairman, Professor John McKenzie, also on holiday.

Lowe sees compensation for Strachan as a bonus as his manager could quit for nothing in the summer. He could put the cash to finding a replacement immediately.

It is now odds-on that Strachan will take over at Leeds - with some bookmakers stopping their markets on him taking over at Elland Road - and it is just a matter of when.

However it seems certain that caretaker manager, Eddie Gray, will be in charge for the match with fellow relegation contenders Bolton on Saturday - probably his only game in control. Gray is likely to stay as part of Strachan's backroom team.

Meanwhile, troubled Bradford City are in talks with some of their major creditors to ask for more time to pay their debts and leave them money to attract Bryan Robson as manager. The Yorkshire club had meetings with a couple of leading creditors yesterday in an effort to lengthen the amount of time they have to pay off some large sums of cash.