Magpies Can't Steal Smith

Last updated : 20 January 2004 By Kevin Markey
Reports today suggest that Newcastle tried to take advantage of Leeds' perilous financial position by bidding £3m for the England striker.

Leeds rejected the offer with club sources indicating that acting chairman Trevor Birch does not believe it makes financial sense to sell any player for a knockdown price and that if anyone is to be to sold it would be Viduka.

The Aussie's £65k weekly salary is a big burden on the budget, but this is also the reason why potential buyers may be put off.

Viduka has been reportedly tracked by Manchester United, Middlesbrough and a handful of top clubs on the Continent, but is out of the game altogether at the moment.

He is back home in Australia on indefinite compassionate leave because of his father’s illness.