Different paper same old rumour

Last updated : 20 January 2004 By Martyn Elliott

Having watched Shepherd complete one of his best deals by signing Jonathan Woodgate for £8million 12 months ago, numerous tabloid journalists seem to be expecting him to repeat the feat with Smith.

However, both clubs denied the rumour last week and there seems to be little new in the story, except that Leeds are just a little bit closer to administration than they were seven days ago.

Neither club has so far commented on the Daily Mail’s claims, but whether that is because they are true or because they’ve simply grown bored of denying the story is unclear.

Meanwhile, Celtic’s Henrik Larsson has moved to try and stamp out rumours about his future once and for all, by making it clear that he hasn’t been in negotiations with Newcastle, Barcelona or any other club about a contract for next season.

The Swede will wait until his current deal at Parkhead expires before considering what to do next, and, presumably not really needing to earn any more money, he has revealed that retirement is a serious possibility.

"I might quit football after this season and move home to Helsingborg," he told Swedish newspaper Expressen.

"That's as probable as me deciding to keep playing. This guessing game is just annoying.

“I will not get in contact with other teams. Everything has to go through my agent and we will agree what will happen when my contract with Celtic runs out.”