Pleat in hunt for Juventus winger

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The Independent Online
Football

NICK DUXBURY

David Pleat yesterday admitted that the Juventus winger Attilio Lombardo is part of his team-strengthening plans for Sheffield Wednesday.

Pleat denied that he had made a pounds 3m offer for the 30-year-old Italian international, but he has made an approach. "No money was offered. We made a tentative inquiry," he said. "However, there is a possibility of talks taking place."

Pleat also wants to sign three more players before the start of the season, having already spent more than pounds 3m on the Huddersfield Town striker Andy Booth and the Rotherham United keeper Matt Clarke.

Arsenal played their first pre-season friendly at St Albans last night with their manager, Bruce Rioch, still awaiting a response from the club about a contract. "I would like the matter to be concluded," he said.

Coventry City have failed with a last-minute offer for the Slavia Prague midfielder Radek Bejbl, 24, who has signed a pounds 1.5m, four-year contract with Atletico Madrid.

Plymouth Argyle, the newly promoted Second Division club, are for sale after their millionaire chairman, Dan McCauley, declared: "I've had enough."

McCauley, who has spent pounds 3m on Argyle, said: "If other people know how to run the club so well this is their chance. All they have to do is put their offer on the table."

The Argyle manager, Neil Warnock, refused to comment on the threat to sell.

Leeds United's attempts to sign players suffered another damaging setback yesterday when the High Court hearing into the proposed takeover by the Caspian Group was postponed until Monday.

Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager whose transfer dealings are on hold until the outcome, said: "We are already a fortnight behind schedule."

Trevor Francis, the Birmingham City manager, has been told that he must sell to raise money before the pounds 1.2m move of the striker Mike Newell from Blackburn Rovers can go ahead.

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