Kewell set for contract talks

Ian Parkes
Thursday 13 March 2003 01:00
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Leeds United's Harry Kewell is due to begin negotiations next week on a long-term deal with the Elland Road club. Kewell has yet to be offered a new contract according to agent, Bernie Mandic, despite suggestions that a £50,000-per-week pay packet over the next five seasons has been on the table since the turn of the year. Kewell, however, apparently indicated in a preliminary discussion with the club's chairman, Peter Ridsdale, earlier this season that he wanted to remain with the Premiership strugglers.

The 24-year-old is out of contract in 15 months' time. Manchester United, Liverpool, and the two Milan clubs, Milan and Internazionale, have been linked with the Australia international striker and all would probably be able to offer Kewell European football next season if he decided to leave Leeds, who saw their last hope of playing on the Continent for a sixth successive time disappear at the weekend with their FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Sheffield United.

Mandic said: "We stand by exactly what I said months ago. We agreed that when the chairman is ready he will sit down and discuss the future.

"At this point no deal has been offered and no deal has been discussed. That's all there is to it.

Mandic has also revealed that whether the Leeds manager, Terry Venables, stays or leaves this summer has no bearing on whether Kewell will extend his contract. "Harry was at Leeds before Terry Venables and there's no reason to suggest he won't be there if Terry leaves," he said.

Birmingham have signed the former Wales goalkeeper Andy Marriott from Barnsley for a nominal fee until the end of the season. The Blues manager, Steve Bruce, has been looking to bring in an experienced keeper since Nico Vaesen suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the derby against Aston Villa.

Bruce can call on the services of the long-serving Ian Bennett as Vaesen's deputy, but his only back-up is the 19-year-old Academy keeper Clint Davies.

Marriott, 32, began his career at Arsenal and also had spells at Nottingham Forest and Wrexham plus loan periods at West Brom, Blackburn, Colchester and Burnley.

Fulham's goalkeeper Maik Taylor has lost his appeal to the Football Association against a red card received at Tottenham on 24 February.

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