Bohinen set to join Blackburn

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The Independent Online
PHIL SHAW

Blackburn Rovers, floundering in both the Premiership and the European Cup, are set to revamp their midfield with two major signings - Lars Bohinen from Nottingham Forest and Billy McKinlay of Dundee United.

Bohinen, who will play for Norway against England in Oslo a week tonight, is expected to join Ray Harford's ailing champions today at a knock-down price of pounds 700,000. McKinlay, a regular in the Scotland squad, may follow before the weekend if the Scottish First Division club accept Blackburn's offer of pounds 1.5m.

In confirming that Bohinen was to discuss terms with Blackburn, the Forest manager, Frank Clark, admitted the 29-year-old player had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for no more than pounds 700,000. Bohinen, who joined Forest two years ago for pounds 400,000, would have fetched up to pounds 2.5m in normal circumstances. "We've taken legal advice and tried to buy out the clause, but it's there and the mistake is down to me," Clark said.

Bohinen may prove to be the runner from midfield Blackburn have conspicuously lacked. He scored six goals in 34 Premiership games last season.

McKinlay, 26, is also a marksman of some standing, having scored three times in his first five appearances for Scotland and collected a hat-trick in Saturday's Dundee derby. Their arrival could set off a scramble for Tim Sherwood, the captain of Blackburn's title-winning side, who is understood to interest Arsenal and Chelsea. Last night, however, Arsenal manager Bruce Rioch denied any interest in Sherwood.

Almost certainly leaving Ewood Park is Lee Makel, who should complete a move to Crystal Palace tomorrow. With Blackburn seeking pounds 600,000 for the out-of-contract midfielder, the fee is likely to be settled by an independent tribunal.

Peter Thorne, the 22-year-old striker whom Blackburn sold for pounds 225,000 to Swindon 22 months ago, was yesterday the subject of a rejected pounds 1m offer from Bolton. Scot Gemmill, the Forest midfielder, is also a pounds 2m target for the Premiership's recent arrivals.

Coventry City have had an offer of pounds 500,000 rejected by Oldham for their central defender, Richard Jobson. The First Division club want pounds 750,000.

Ipswich Town have persuaded Celtic to accept pounds 400,000 for the 31-year- old defender Tony Mowbray, who has still to discuss personal terms with the First Division club.

Chelsea and Everton were both united yesterday in dismissing reports that Mark Hughes was unsettled in London and wanted to return north.

Andy Townsend has been handed a double punishment by the Football Association. The Aston Villa captain has been suspended for one match following his sending off against Nottingham Forest last month and Villa have been ordered to fine him for his exaggerated celebrations after scoring in the same 1-1 draw with Forest - his first goal in seven months.

McStay's return, page 27

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