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Football: Leeds in battle to keep Kewell.

Byline: JAMIE HEWITT

NEW Leeds United chairman John McKenzie insists the club will do all it can to hold onto striker Harry Kewell while fighting off debt left by former chairman Peter Ridsdale.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona have all shown a keen interest in the Australian forward but McKenzie wants to keep his prized possession.

And although the club are reluctant to sell they are well aware that the hitman could walk from the club on a free transfer just a year from now. But McKenzie knows that Kewell's decision will rely on how determined he is to be playing in the Champions League next year.

He said: "We remain hopeful that we can sign Harry to a new deal but it does depend on whether he is hell-bent on playing in the Champions League next season.

"I hope he will stay and Peter Reid wants him to stay, but if we are not successful in persuading him to sign a new deal then we are not going to sell him for silly money.

"Even if he wants to leave, the deal has to be right for the club and mirror our investment in him over the years.

"We are not seeking to sell anybody unless they feel they want to leave."

Meanwhile, Birmingham chairman David Gold has insisted that his club will not increase their Pounds 5.5 million bid for former England U21 captain David Dunn.

Gold vowed not to let the Blues be held to ransom for the Blackburn midfielder and after Rovers knocked back city's initial bid the Brummie chairman insisted there would be no increased offer for the midfielder.

Gold said: "We have pushed the boat out for Dunn but we won't be held to ransom he is a top of the range buy and the offer reflects that.

"We did it to try and steal a march on other clubs who may have been interested in signing David Dunn.

"In the past, we may have been tempted to increase the offer. But business is not done like that anymore."

Gold and co-owner David Sullivan have strongly backed Blues manager Steve Bruce in the transfer market.

Robbie Savage, Kenny Cunningham, Aliou Cisse, Jamie Clapham, Matthew Upson, Stephen Clemence and Christophe Dugarry have all been signed in the last year.

But Gold and Sullivan have stressed they do not want to follow the same tough financial path as Leicester and Derby so have cut spending.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:410
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