Football: Anelka ready to take Juventus to court

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The Independent Online
NICOLAS ANELKA is threatening to take legal action and go on strike if Arsenal sell him to Juventus instead of Lazio, according to reports from Italy. Anelka believes the odds on him being sold to Juventus against his will have shortened markedly since the weekend, as the two Serie A clubs wrestle for his services.

The Frenchman is already preparing a battle plan should the move to Lazio fail. "I will start legal proceedings against Juventus. I will ask for damages," Anelka told Corriere dello Sport. "They're interfering with my career. Instead of withdrawing their offer to Arsenal, as I asked them to in a letter, they've presented another offer, even higher than the first."

The Frenchman is also willing to take his case to the European Court, citing European Union labour legislation which could enable him to buy out his contract with Arsenal at minimal cost. Contacts have already been made with Jean Louis Dupont, the lawyer who represented the Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman in his landmark case against European football rules in 1995.

Anelka is also prepared to organise a kind of informal boycott against the Turin club, warning off other players from joining them. "I'm prepared to do anything," he said. "Even if that meant not playing for two months or six, or a whole year, or even longer."

Another player who has been testing his club's patience is Benito Carbone, and Sheffield Wednesday yesterday put the striker on the transfer list. His contract expires next summer and he has failed to agree a lucrative new deal.

"I want to stay but they don't want me," he said yesterday. "I came back last night and have returned here to play for Sheffield Wednesday. Now I will speak with the manager and we are going to talk about the future." A pounds 3m arrival from Internazionale in 1996, Carbone was the Wednesday leading scorer last season with nine goals.

"He would not have discussed a four-year contract if he hadn't been happy in Sheffield," said Carbone's agent, Giovanni Branchini. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out and what has happened is something that we could expect. I think there's nothing strange about it."

Carbone, who missed the first 10 days of training because of illness, is valued at pounds 5m and Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, together with the Italian trio Torino, Reggiana and Napoli, have all been reported as possible destinations.

Middlesbrough have since denied a link with the Italian and have ruled themselves out of any race for the 27-year-old. The club's assistant manager, Viv Anderson, said: "I can categorically say that we will not be signing Benito Carbone."

Bull retires, page 25

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