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LEEDS DON'T WANT 'MOPERS'

Leeds are prepared to sell any top players who would rather leave Elland Road than face a relegation dogfight.

The transfer window opens tomorrow, and cash-strapped Leeds' prize assets - Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson - are expected to attract interest.

But the club are second-bottom of the Barclaycard Premiership and desperate to keep their best players as they fight for their top-flight lives.

Leeds chief executive and acting chairman Trevor Birch claims Leeds do not need to sell during the transfer window.

However, he told The Sun: "If you have a player who doesn't want to play for the club, he is going to mope around. That can be disruptive.

"Of course, you can always say to him he has to stay put. But if the player himself wants to go, history would say you are in some difficulty.

"I just hope all our players want to stay at Elland Road and help us get out of the situation we are in.

"Our stated policy is that we don't have to sell during the transfer window. There is interest in Viduka but I have already made it clear he is not for sale.

"We don't want to sell anybody unless the player puts in a transfer request. At this moment, we are assuming all our players want to stay."

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Fair enough...
 

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Birch: Leeds Will Sell Unsettled Players
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Viduka: target for other clubs (Getty Images)
12/31/2003. Leeds United's chief executive, Trevor Birch, says the club would rather sell any player ?no matter how big a star ?than keep him at Elland Road against his wishes.

Leeds go into 2004 deep in relegation trouble, but Birch is adamant they only want players at the club who are willing to fight to get them out of trouble.

Their remaining 'crown jewels' - Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson - are all expected to attract interest from other clubs when the transfer window opens on Thursday.

But Leeds want to retain their best players, and Birch insists they do not need to sell.

He told The Sun: "If you have a player who doesn't want to play for the club, he is going to mope around. That can be disruptive.

"Of course, you can always say to him he has to stay put. But if the player himself wants to go, history would say you are in some difficulty.

"I just hope all our players want to stay at Elland Road and help us get out of the situation we are in.

"Our stated policy is that we don't have to sell during the transfer window.

"There is interest in Viduka but I have already made it clear he is not for sale.

"We don't want to sell anybody unless the player puts in a transfer request.

"At this moment, we are assuming all our players want to stay."

Graham Lister

soccerage
 
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