Everton entice Ferdinand

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The Independent Online
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BY NICK DUXBURY

Manchester United yesterday gave Internazionale the brush-off over Paul Ince, while Bobby Robson put honour before Highbury and Les Ferdinand's meet-the-managers tour pencilled in Newcastle and Goodison as the next stops.

Ferdinand, who has already called at Aston Villa, will meet Kevin Keegan in the North-east tomorrow. He will then talk to Joe Royle of Everton, whose appearance in the European Cup-Winners' Cup next season could swing the balance. All three clubs have agreed a pounds 6m fee with Queen's Park Rangers for the 28-year-old striker, but a late approach from Tottenham could still be in the offing.

Arsenal have also been linked with Ferdinand, but the uncertainty at Highbury - Bobby Robson has apparently agreed to honour the remaining two years of his contract at Porto instead of becoming the Gunners' manager - has left the club out of the running. Robson was quoted in the Portuguese press yesterday as saying: "I have a commitment. And this commitment will be respected. I am going to stay at FC Porto."

Also staying put is Ince after his manager, Alex Ferguson, returned from holiday to reject Inter's offer, which falls well short of United's pounds 7m valuation. Ferguson has been assured that he has no need to sell any of his players, despite the club's investment of pounds 28m in a new stand. United's Andy Cole should be fit for the start of next season after having an operation to remedy shin splints.

Manchester City have denied being to blame for the collapse of Niall Quinn's move to Sporting Lisbon. City only discovered that the Portuguese club had decided not to buy the striker in a pounds 2m deal when they saw an item on Teletext. "The papers in Portugal are apparently saying that we refused to pay Niall certain monies but that is totally inaccurate," Colin Barlow, City's managing director, said.

The day after newly promoted Huddersfield Town lost their manager, Neil Warnock, they lost their chairman. Terry Fisher, whose poor relationship with Warnock led to the latter's resignation, was voted out of office by the rest of the club's board and replaced by vice-chairman Geoff Headey yesterday.

Birmingham have had an pounds 850,000 bid for Marcus Stewart rejected by Bristol Rovers, who want pounds 1.2m for the striker, while Swindon have signed the 28-year-old Bolton defender Mark Seagraves for pounds 100,000, with another pounds 25,000 payable after 25 appearances.

Bruce Grobbelaar, the Southampton goalkeeper, has been criticised for boycotting Zimbabwe's crucial African Nations' Cup game gainst Zaire because of the deadly Ebola disease. The Harare-based daily, the Herald, accused Grobbelaar and other players who missed the 5-0 defeat of abusing their fans' faith.

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