THE FALL GUY
Robbie Fowler's transfer from Leeds United to Manchester City was dramatically salvaged last night in a move that could jeopardise Newcastle United's hopes of persuading the Yorkshire club to sell Jonathan Woodgate.
Fowler was pulled out of Leeds's trip to Chelsea after the City manager Kevin Keegan resurrected the £7m transfer that had already collapsed twice. Keegan is confident that he has persuaded the 27-year-old to leave Elland Road and talks are at such an advanced stage the deal is likely to be completed today.
With the money they would bank from Fowler's departure, the club might now be in a position to keep Woodgate, although the Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd met Ridsdale at a Chelsea hotel last night to discuss the possible transfer.
The Fowler move leaves the position of David Bernstein at Maine Road unclear. The City chairman has been under scrutiny since it emerged he was culpable for upsetting Fowler, prompting him to change his mind about moving to Maine Road 13 days ago. Fowler had complained he felt "like damaged goods" after Bernstein, citing reservations about the player's injury problems, went behind Keegan's back to ask Leeds to drop their valuation to £5m, based purely on appearances.