LEEDS: Leeds United midfielder Lee Bowyer was due to hold talks with West Ham United yesterday after the two clubs agreed a transfer fee for the unsettled player.
Leeds have been trying to sell Bowyer since he turned down a new contract from the club and West Ham, who are bottom of the English Premier League, said they were hopeful of concluding a deal.
“We have agreed terms in principle with Leeds and are expecting the player down some time today,” West Ham managing director Paul Aldridge told his club’s website yesterday.
“We need to sit and talk with Lee and hopefully we will then be in a position to take it further, tie up the loose ends and thrash out a contract as soon as possible.”
West Ham manager Glenn Roeder said: “He is a fantastic midfield player and has got the best years of his career in front of him.”
Bowyer, valued in July at around £9 million (US$14.51 million), was a fan of West Ham as a boy and media reports have said the 26-year-old is keen to move back to London.
Bowyer has been unsettled at Leeds since a lengthy court case in 2001 relating to an attack on a student in Leeds city centre in January 2000.
Bowyer was cleared of all charges in December 2001 but teammate Jonathan Woodgate was convicted of affray and sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
Leeds are keen to sell Bowyer during January’s transfer window in order to secure a fee for his sale. Otherwise Bowyer would be able to leave Leeds for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season.
“In the light of these circumstances we have agreed to transfer Lee Bowyer to West Ham United for an undisclosed fee,” Leeds said in a statement on their website yesterday.
Leeds agreed a fee to sell Bowyer to Liverpool in the close season but the move fell through after Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier questioned Bowyer’s hunger to play for the Anfield side.
Last week Bowyer rejected a move to Premier League side Birmingham City.
The combative midfielder, who earned his only full England cap against Portugal in September, joined Leeds for £2.8 million from Charlton Athletic in 1996.
Bowyer will discover tomorrow what punishment he will face from European soccer’s ruling body UEFA after television replays showed him stepping on the head of Malaga defender Gerardo in a UEFA Cup match in December.
Any ban would apply only to European club competition, however, leaving Bowyer free to play in the English Premier League and FA Cup. - Reuters