The exodus from Leeds United gathered fresh pace yesterday as Mark Viduka completed his long-touted £4.5m move to Middlesbrough while the defenders Ian Harte and Danny Mills were both in transfer talks.
Viduka was one of the main scapegoats as Leeds slipped out of the Premiership last season with horrendous debt problems and the move puts an end to an acrimonious few months. The 28-year-old Australian international signed a three-year deal at the Riverside Stadium, which includes the option of a fourth. However, the former Celtic forward, who is understood to have waived around half of the £2m he was owed by Leeds, has insisted that he will look back on his time with the club with great fondness despite the sourness with which it ended.
"That's the sort of thing that happens when you're involved in a club that's going through that sort of period," he said. "I gave my best for the whole four years I've been there - I was top goalscorer every year - and those sort of things go out of the window when times are tough. I had a great time at Leeds. I enjoyed my time there and made a lot of friends, and I was proud to be a Leeds player.
"But it's good to start afresh, and I think there's no better club for me to do that with than Middlesbrough." Boro have also confirmed that the Cameroon international Joseph-Désiré Job has accepted a new two-year contract.
Manchester City are in talks with Mills. The England right-back has been given clearance by Leeds United to thrash out a contract with Kevin Keegan's side. Mills's wages - around £2m a year - have put off Newcastle United, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough.
Manchester City are now the main option for him, but Leeds may have to give Mills some money to go because Keegan's financial men are reluctant to hand the defender a three-year deal.
Harte will travel to Spain to sign for the recently promoted Levante, the Primera Liga side said. The club added that the Irish international was due to undergo a medical this morning before signing terms.
One player who will now not be leaving Elland Road is Michael Duberry. His move to Wolves is off after the Yorkshire club pulled out of the deal. The Leeds manager, Kevin Blackwell, wants to keep the former Chelsea centre-back, particularly in view of the sale of Dominic Matteo to Blackburn on Wednesday. Duberry had agreed in principle to having his contract terminated.