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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK

Sport: Football

Leeds snap up Bridges

England Under-21 Michael bridges has joined Leeds United for £5m

Leeds United have completed the signing of England Under-21 international Michael Bridges for a fee believed to be around £5m.

Despite earlier failed attempts by the Yorkshire club to sign the Sunderland striker, a renewed bid for the youngster has been successful.

Leeds boss David O'Leary, who said he admired the forward, believes that Bridges would be a valuable asset to his young side:

[ image: O'Leary is ecstatic over Bridges signing]
O'Leary is ecstatic over Bridges signing
"He is young, has fantastic ability, is quick and he can score goals," he said.

"He fits into what I am trying to do at Elland Road and form a young team, not a ready-made team, a team that will mature together and make Leeds proud," he added.

The North Shields born 20-year-old signed as a professional for Sunderland in November 1995.

Even though he was not a regular in the Sunderland first team, he attracted attention from international level and subsequently made his England Under-21 debut in a goalless draw against Switzerland in April 1997.

Risdale bemused

In 41 starts and 41 appearances for the Wearside club, Bridges scored 21 goals and has also collected two England Under-21 caps.

The striker joins new signings Eirik Bakke, Danny Mills and Michael Duberry at Elland Road.

Leeds chairman, Peter Risdale, has denied reports that Athletico Madrid are sending a delegation to Leeds in an attempt to sign Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Elland Road supremo said: "I am bemused about where these articles come from.

"If there is anybody coming to see me from Spain presumably they are holidaymakers, because I don't know they are coming."

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