Football: Holdsworth linked with Boro move

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The Independent Online
The departure of Fabrizio Ravanelli from Middlesbrough has set off a new wave of transfer speculation. Catherine Riley looks at the movers and fakers.

Wimbledon's Dean Holdsworth emerged yesterday as the man Middlesbrough want to replace Fabrizio Ravanelli.

It is believed Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, is willing to pay pounds 3m for the 29-year-old striker, and with the pounds 5.35m he received from Marseilles for Ravanelli available, it is expected that the move will go through quickly.

The transfer would be attractive not only for Middlesbrough, after their protracted problems with Ravanelli, but also for Holdsworth, who has fallen out of favour at Selhurst Park this season.

While Boro remained tight-lipped over Holdsworth yesterday, Robson did put paid to speculation that Paul Merson would be following Ravanelli out of the Riverside Stadium.

Robson said: "Paul's very happy the way his football's going and generally around the place. People will want to make easy stories and they suggest the best way out is for Merson to move. It makes a good story but that is not the case. What we will do is work to resolve any problems he may have."

Merson is currently commuting from his London home as his family is unwilling to make the move north.

One man who is leaving Middlesbrough is goalkeeper Gary Walsh, who has joined Bradford City on a month's loan. The 29-year-old, signed from Manchester United two years ago, has been edged into third place in the Boro pecking order behind Ben Roberts and Mark Schwarzer.

Andy Impey is in line to make his debut for West Ham when they take on Liverpool at Upton Park today. Peter Storrie, the West Ham managing director, confirmed Impey had passed a medical and his pounds 1.2m transfer from Queen's Park Rangers was completed yesterday morning.

West Ham have also taken the former Tranmere striker Ian Moore from Nottingham Forest on a month's loan.

The Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, is again insisting that defender Jason McAteer is not on the transfer list. "I am sick of saying it - McAteer is not for sale and is not going anywhere. I have not had contact with any club, and that includes Spurs, and I'm not inviting any contact.

"This keeps coming up and I'm fed up with repeating myself. I have not even said that he can go when we get a replacement which people seem to think I have said. That is not true."

Massimo Oddo returned to Italy yesterday, but the Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, will try and sign the utility player from Milan in the next few days.

Newcastle had brought the Italian over for a week's loan which has ended after he had completed another loan deal with the Italian club Lecce.

The Professional Footballers' Association has launched an investigation into allegations that the Carlisle midfielder Warren Aspinall made racist taunts at an opponent. A complaint was lodged with the PFA after Carlisle's match with Plymouth last weekend, when Aspinall is alleged to have directed insulting noises and gestures at the midfielder Ronnie Mauge.

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