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 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 07:38 GMT
Fowler linked with Man City
Leeds striker Robbie Fowler
Fowler cost Leeds 11m
Manchester City have refused to comment on speculation linking the club with a move for Leeds striker Robbie Fowler.

City boss Kevin Keegan is believed to be ready to swoop for the former Liverpool forward, who has just returned to action following a lengthy lay-off with a hip injury.

Keegan has confirmed he wants to reinforce his squad for an assault on a European spot when the transfer window opens on 1 January.

Leeds have denied that there has been contact with the Maine Road club, but they may want to cash in on the 27-year-old as they attempt to reduce their huge debts.

"We are looking at one or two areas but we just need a few things to drop into position," said Keegan.

You cannot possibly compete in this division without a big squad and ours isn't big enough yet

Kevin Keegan
"We don't need many and we will look at the possibility of loan deals but I think we are a good club to come to.

"We have a friendly bunch of players and no prima donnas. Everyone wants to take the club forward and is willing to put in the hard work.

"We've got a real togetherness which, combined with the talent we have got, gets results."

Leeds would be reluctant to let Fowler go, though Terry Venables knows he must sell before he can buy.

The sticking point could be the fee. Leeds would be keen to recoup as much of the 11m they paid Liverpool for Fowler a year ago.

But Keegan is unlikely to have more than 7m to spend when the transfer window opens.

Marseille's Algerian midfielder Djamel Belmadi is another target for City should there be any cash remaining from a possible Fowler deal.

Keegan has targeted a top-six finish for his players and recent results have pushed the club up to ninth place.

"Three or four weeks ago I felt the club was turning the way we wanted it to, now we have turned we have to keep steaming on," Keegan told the Manchester Evening News.

"I still think we should aim for the top six because if you don't set a target for players which stretches them, they might settle for mid-table.

"You cannot possibly compete in this division without a big squad and ours isn't big enough yet. That is something the board have to realise.

"I will keep driving the board on and if they want to we can make this a bigger club."

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