City prepared to sell Kinkladze

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The Independent Online
Manchester City are ready to sell Georgi Kinkladze, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Celtic likely to be leading the bidding at around pounds 5m, writes Alan Nixon.

The Georgian midfielder was absent as City lost 4-1 in the Coca-Cola Cup at Lincoln on Tuesday and his agent, Phillipe Hubert, arrived in England yesterday for talks about the player's future.

Francis Lee, the City chairman, is thought to be willing to sell Kinkladze in order to provide his manager-elect, Dave Bassett, with money to spend on players. Kinkladze officially missed the game at Lincoln with a hamstring injury, but his absence has conveniently stopped him from being cup-tied.

Liverpool's new midfielder, Patrik Berger, scored twice as the Czech Republic defeated Malta 6-0 in a Group Six World Cup qualifier. Berger opened the scoring after 12 minutes and got the third from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.

Jamie Bates, the Brentford captain, will have a meeting with police tomorrow to decide whether to press charges against Blackpool's Gary Brabin.

Brabin was arrested last Saturday after allegedly punching Bates in the back of the head as the pair walked down the tunnel after a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park. Bates had to be taken to hospital on a stretcher after the incident. Brabin has since been released on bail, but Bates has to decide whether or not to press charges.

"The police wanted to talk to me yesterday, but it's now been put off until Friday," Bates said. "We'll have a meeting with the manager and chairman and decide what to do.

"I honestly don't know what I want to do. I haven't decided. The main thing is that the boss has told me if I want to press charges then the club will be right behind me, but if I don't, they will back me on that too."

Bates has refused to discuss the incident, or what he thinks of Brabin. He said: "I don't know how I feel about him and I don't really want to say. I just have to put this behind me now and get on with playing."

Bates played in Tuesday's Coca-Cola Cup first-leg defeat against Blackburn and said: "Thankfully, the doctors gave me the go-ahead to play against Blackburn and I came through with no problems, not even a headache, so that was a relief."