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 Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 12:48 GMT
Fowler's Sliding Doors
Robbie Fowler's decision making has been like a scene from Sliding Doors

The last fortnight of Robbie Fowler's career has been like a series of scenes from the movie Sliding Doors.

Fowler's protracted move from Leeds to Manchester City has left a trail of ifs, buts and maybes.

Just like in the Gwyneth Paltrow flick, where seemingly minor decisions like whether or not to catch a train can have a profound affect on life.

Having turned down a move to Maine Road at the 11th hour just two weeks ago, Fowler has finally made his mind up to catch his train.

The player is satisfied with his move, Leeds have brought in some much-needed funds and City have got themselves a bargain.

So, everybody is happy. Aren't they?

BBC Sport Online studies the Sliding Doors scenario of how the script may now develop for Fowler, City and Leeds.


The happy ending:

Fowler:
The smile replaces the scowl on Fowler's face as he suddenly feels at home again.

After rising through the youth ranks at Liverpool, Fowler seemed unsettled by his move to Leeds but Kevin Keegan's words of reassurance make the striker feel at home again.

A refreshed Fowler hits a purple patch, scoring at will to secure a return to the England squad for the Euro 2004 qualifier in Liechtenstein.

Leeds manager Terry Venables
Venables can at last deal with a settled squad
Leeds United:
Leeds take the money and run, at last.

The 6.5m fee is still short of their valuation but it's enough to keep the wolves from the door.

Venables knows the Elland Road winter sales are finally over with the January window coming to a close.

Now he knuckles down to shaping and moulding a settled team, with Jonathan Woodgate and Seth Jonson starring after escaping the glare of transfer speculation.

Manchester City:
City finally find the perfect foil for Nicolas Anelka.

The pair combine beautifully to inspire an unbeaten run that elevates Keegan's side to Uefa Cup qualification.

And, at 6.5m, they have a bargain.

The horror story:

Fowler:
Fowler completes his cut-price deal.

He trains with his new side for the first time but pulls up with a recurrence of his hip injury, ruling him out of Saturday's game with West Bromwich Albion

City rush him back for the Manchester derby at Old Trafford but Fowler suffers further damage and spends the rest of the campaign in rehabilitation.

He returns fresh for the new campaign but never truly rediscovers the touch that earned him the reputation as England's greatest finisher.

Manchester City:
Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan
Keegan is taking a gamble

City are back where they started, but 6.5m and a hefty weekly wage worse off.

Shaun Goater and fit-again strikers Paolo Wanchope and Jon Macken battle to fill the gap, but City's desperation to sign Fowler leaves both feeling unloved and out of form.

Leeds United:
Leeds accept barely half the fee they paid for the player in the summer, such is their desperation to pay the bills.

Venables cannot reinvest any of it in a replacement striker as the money is already accounted for.

Elland Road misses the finishing touches that Fowler could have provided and slide back towards trouble as they fail to bury matches that are theirs for the taking.

Venables' side reach the crucial 40-point survival mark with four games to spare, but morale is at a low ebb.

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