Arsenal only had eyes for Shearer

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The Independent Online
Bruce Rioch has indicated that Arsenal's conspicuous absence from the summer's spiral of spending was to devote all their funds to buying a single player - Alan Shearer.

Rioch, who has yet to sign a contract at Highbury despite being appointed Arsenal manager more than 13 months ago, is thought to feel stymied by the club's player-buying policy.

Rioch told Gunners magazine that "a top player who might be about to leave his club" had been targeted by the Highbury directors, who are responsible for buying players that the manager has selected. "It was no good us then spending pounds 3m here, pounds 3m there, because that would erode the money we needed for this one," Rioch said.

The interview was, of course, conducted before the weekend when it became clear that Shearer was moving to Newcastle for a record pounds 15m. Shearer's name is not mentioned, but there can be little doubt that the England striker is the player Rioch is alluding to.

Shearer, meanwhile, joined his Newcastle team-mates for the first time yesterday for a light training session in Singapore where his home town club are on tour. Earlier, the Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan, said Shearer will probably make his debut for Newcastle in the Charity Shield a week on Sunday.

Joe Royle, the Everton manager, has returned to his former club, Oldham, to buy the 23-year-old goalkeeper Paul Gerrard for pounds 1m, rising by 50 per cent after a set number of appearances. The Belgian right-back, Reggie Genoux, of Standard Liege, is set to join Coventry's bulging ranks for pounds 1.7m.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have signed the Manchester City captain, Keith Curle, on a three-year contract for pounds 650,000.

The Sheffield Wednesday manager, David Pleat, has given the Juventus forward Attilio Lombardo until Saturday to complete a pounds 3.5m transfer to Hillsborough. Pleat said: "Our patience is being tested, but we have committed a lot of money and effort into this move and I'm ready to wait just a little longer to see it through."

Bristol Rovers' move to the Memorial Ground has been delayed by safety work at the Bristol rugby union club. Rovers play their opening game of the season, against Peterborough on 17 August, at Twerton Park.

Celtic are facing a second investigation by Fifa, the world governing body, to determine the part Paolo Barbosa, an unlicensed agent, played in the signing of Jorge Cadete. The Parkhead club were also questioned yesterday about Alan Stubbs' move from Bolton.

Artur Jorge has been appointed coach of Portugal's national team for the second time, less than 24 hours after his seven-month term with Switzerland came to an end. Jorge, 50, will replace Antonio Oliveira, who led Portugal to the quarter-finals of Euro 96 last month. Oliveira has moved to the Portuguese champions, Porto.

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