Leeds poised to poach Yeboah in £3.5m deal

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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL Leeds United's search for a striker yesterday led them to Anthony Yeboah, the joint top scorer in the German Bundesliga for the past two seasons, whom they hope to unveil today in a club-record £3.5m deal.

Yeboah, a Ghanaian international, was in Leeds yesterday to discuss personal terms with the club's managing director, Bill Fotherby, and chairman, Leslie Silver. He was accompanied by Bernd Holzenbein, the former West German international, who is generalmanager of Yeboah's club of the last four and a half years, Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eintracht are anxious to sell abroad rather than to Bayern Munich, whose interest is reported to have prompted the player's unrest. Leeds, who may press for an initial loan arrangement to assess Yeboah's ability to make the transition, urgently need a proven marksman. Spurned by Duncan Ferguson, Tomas Skuhravy and Ruben Sosa, they have failed to find the net in their last three matches, and the top scorer, Noel Whelan, has only seven goals.

Yeboah is variously listed as being 28 and 30 years old, but there is no disputing his striking rate. In 1992/93 he scored 20 times in 25 games to share Germany's golden boot with Ulf Kirsten, of Bayer Leverkusen, and despite injuries repeated the feat last season, matching Kaiserlautern's Stefan Kuntz with 18 goals in 22 appearances.

Aston Villa, Arsenal and Newcastle were also approached by the player's representatives. But Howard Wilkinson, whose last major recruit from the Continent was Eric Cantona, has clearly decided the powerfully built Yeboah has the qualities to rescue Leeds' season. The last striker he bought, the £2.7m Brian Deane, has scored only 17 goals in 18 months.

If the Yeboah deal goes through today, he will not be eligible for tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Walsall.

Southampton are also closing in on a seven-figure signing, with Chelsea's Neil Shipperley expected to move in £1.2m deal. The two clubs have agreed the fee and now it is up to Shipperley, who has just returned to Stamford Bridge after a month's loan to Watford, to finalise terms.

Mark McGhee, the Leicester manager, yesterday made his first foray into the transfer market since taking over at at Filbert Street, offering Doncaster £200,000 for the winger James Lawrence. Doncaster need the cash to pay off a £140,000 tax debt to averta winding-up order, which is due to come to court again in a fortnight.

Meanwhile McGhee's former club, Reading, yesterday confirmed the appointment of veteran players Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding as the club's new management team. The pair have been appointed joint player-managers after a successful run since they took overas caretakers after McGhee's departure.

John Madejski, the Reading chairman, said: "Mick and Jim did take up the gauntlet and they have clearly had the respect of the other players. They have taken to management like a duck to water. They've worked tremendously well together, so why rock the boat? We have had a string of very reasonable results recently and with the whole squad rallying together, I think these guys can gain in stature from here on in.

The position of Ian Bowyer, the Plymouth assistant manager, is uncertain after Peter Shilton's suspension and the appointment of Steve McCall as temporary player-manager of the Second Division strugglers. However, Bowyer will return to his old stamping ground at Nottingham Forest for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie.

"He's going to be there on Saturday and then he wants some time to think about what he will do," said McCall.

The Scottish FA is to carry out an investigation into an alleged head-butting incident during Monday's First Division match between Airdrie and Hamilton. Airdrie's Jimmy Sandison and Gary Clark of Hamilton were the players involved.

FA Cup Countdown, page 39

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