Football: 1.5 million pound Slater set to sign for Celtic

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The Independent Online
LIAM BRADY, the Celtic manager, has spent a hectic 24 hours in the transfer market with the result that two new faces will have been added to his side before tomorrow's European transfer deadline.

The Middlesbrough striker, Andy Payton, has already put pen to paper for Celtic and Brady is hopeful that the West Ham midfielder, Stuart Slater, will follow suit. If he does, Brady will have been rewarded for his patience, having shadowed the player for the last year and he will have made two useful additions in time for next month's Uefa Cup first-round tie against the German side, Cologne.

The manager spent most of yesterday cloistered in talks in Glasgow with the player he would like to see joining Paul McStay in the Celtic midfield and, with the clubs having agreed a price of pounds 1.5m, only Slater's personal details remain to be tidied up.

The bulk of the money for the purchase of Slater, who has been capped at B level by England, has come from the sale of the defender, Derek Whyte, to Middlesbrough for pounds 900,000 while the Payton transfer saw Celtic's Irish full-back Chris Morris move to Ayresome Park.

Across the city at Ibrox, Rangers appear to be ready to sell their striker, Paul Rideout, to Everton. Again the deal could be tied up before tomorrow, giving Rangers pounds 500,000 to add to a similar amount received earlier this week from Chelsea for John Spencer.

Maidstone's Third Division game at Scunthorpe tomorrow was called off by the Football League last night. Maidstone, elected to the League only in 1989, have just two registered players with the season's opening game less than 48 hours away. They are believed to be pounds 650,000 in debt.

The Crystal Palace chairman, Ron Noades, yesterday insisted that Geoff Thomas's move to Blackburn would go ahead only if all Palace's requirements are met.

Noades, aware that the 29-year- old Mancunian is keen to move back to the North, said that the Palace captain would be allowed to leave only if he officially asks for a transfer, Palace's pounds 3m-plus valuation is met and a replacement player has been signed.

These demands could delay a deal that appeared imminent all week as Dalglish attempted to spend more of Jack Walker's cash. Noades was angry with reports suggesting Thomas would move to Ewood Park within the next few days and said that he would face Blackburn at Selhurst Park tomorrow. Noades said: 'I can tell you categorically that Geoff Thomas will be selected to play.'

He stressed that no deal had yet been struck with Blackburn. He added: 'I believe that the player is making his feelings felt to our manager that he would like to move.'

The Premier League chief executive, Rick Parry, yesterday urged clubs to stop their squabbling and unite - just 48 hours before the new season kicks off. Preparations for the Premier League's debut season have been troubled by disputes over sponsorship and television contracts, with six leading clubs apparently trying to set up their own deal on perimeter advertising.

Although the pounds 304m BSkyB deal was being finalised yesterday, the League will enter the season without a main sponsor after the big clubs turned down Bass and Ford. Parry said: 'There is never going to be another opportunity like this. All we've done so far is to get to the starting gate - but we've also created a huge opportunity.

'The challenge over the next 12 months is to achieve unity - only with unity can we make the most of this opportunity. We've come too far to let it slip.'

Chelsea yesterday signed the Manchester United defender, Mal Donaghy, for pounds 150,000.

Pickering's investment,

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