United's pounds 2.12m cup final incentive

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The Independent Online
Football

NICK DUXBURY

The money pot that is the European Champions' League yesterday gave Manchester United a pounds 2.12m incentive to reach next season's final. The Premiership title holders will receive pounds 1m, the same amount as last year, simply by having qualified for the group phase, but Uefa has upped performance bonuses by 10 per cent. A quarter-final place would yield United about pounds 1.5m and over pounds 1.6m if they reach the semi-finals.

United were yesterday reported to have finalised their on-off signing of the Czech international Karel Poborsky from Slavia Prague for around pounds 4m.

David Pleat yesterday admitted that the Juventus winger Attilio Lombardo is part of his team-strengthening plans for Sheffield Wednesday. Pleat, who has already spent pounds 3m on players, denied that he had made a pounds 3m offer for the 30-year-old Italian international, but he has made an approach.

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. The Gunners won 6-0, but Ian Wright was carried off the pitch with a knee injury.

Coventry City have failed with a last-minute offer for the Slavia Prague midfielder Radek Bejbl, although they have completed the signing of winger Michael O'Neill from Hibernian.

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

Leeds' attempts to buy players suffered another setback when the High Court hearing into the proposed takeover by the Caspian Group was postponed until Monday. Howard Wilkinson, who needs Caspian's cash for transfers, said: "We are already a fortnight behind schedule."

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