Everton head the Short list

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The Independent Online


Everton, thwarted in their efforts to recruit Stan Collymore and Chris Armstrong, have opened negotiations with Derby County for the central defender Craig Short, and are confident of concluding a pounds 2.7m deal by the weekend.

Short, 27, chose Derby ahead of Blackburn when he moved from Notts County three years ago. Joe Royle's determination to add more English players to the FA Cup winners' squad also prompted a unsuccessful offer of pounds 600,000 to his previous club, Oldham, for the England Under-21 goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard.

Another goalkeeper in demand is the 6ft 6in Shaka Hislop, of Reading, for whom Newcastle have made an initial approach.

Barry Fry, the Birmingham manager, is to renew his interest in Kennet Andersson, the Swedish international striker currently with the French club, Caen. Fry will hold talks with Caen officials in France tomorrow, having already had an offer of pounds 1.2m rejected.

Collymore's pounds 8.5m transfer to Liverpool has been hit by new complications. Paul Stretford, the player's agent, has failed to deposit a bond of pounds 100,000 to register himself as an official Fifa agent. If he acts while unregistered, the penalties could include a fine or ban for Collymore and/or Nottingham Forest and suspension of all or part of the club's management team.

David Pleat is free to start work as the Sheffield Wednesday manager today after his previous club, Luton, abandoned their attempts to obtain a High Court injunction preventing his succeeding Trevor Francis.

The Luton chairman, David Kohler, who was demanding pounds 300,000 compensation in lieu of the final year of Pleat's contract, agreed yesterday to allow an FA committee to arbitrate between the clubs. Kohler originally described Wednesday's unspecified offer as "derisory" - the Yorkshire club considered it "substantial" - but has now accepted an initial payment.

"Rather than wash our dirty linen in public, we're going to arbitration to establish how much more Wednesday will pay us," Kohler said. "We've made our point and stood up for the smaller club." Kohler said he wished his former manager well.

Bolton hope to sign Chris Fairclough, the centre-back valued at pounds 400,000 by Leeds, while the pounds 250,000-rated striker Jamie Forrester is also on his way out of Elland Road to Grimsby. Both deals are expected to go to tribunals.

Hristo Stoichkov, free to leave Barcelona for less than pounds 5m, may link up with Paul Ince in Milan. The Bulgarian announced yesterday that he would happily join Internazionale or Parma, both of whom have confirmed their interest in him. "Italy is in my destiny, and it is there I'm going to play," he said.