Football: Anfield courts Durie service

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The Independent Online
THE Liverpool manager, Graeme Souness, is ready to outbid his former club, Rangers, for the transfer of Gordon Durie, the disaffected Tottenham striker whose future would appear to be away from White Hart Lane, writes Trevor Haylett. Although no direct contact has been made between the English clubs, it is understood that Terry Venables, Spurs' chief executive, has been sounded out over a cash plus player deal worth more than the pounds 2.2m he paid Chelsea for Durie 17 months ago.

Souness is about to launch another Anfield clear-out in the search for a consistent winning formula, and he could include either Mark Wright, Ronny Rosenthal or the former Spurs midfielder, Paul Stewart, in the transaction.

Durie would prefer a return to his native Scotland. Venables, who yesterday celebrated his 50th birthday, was not impressed with Rangers' initial offer of around pounds 1.5m. But, with new signings before the Uefa transfer deadline next week eligible for the latter stages of the European Champions' League, he expects a fresh approach from the Scottish representatives.

It has been a troubled season for Durie. Branded a cheat when the Football Association found him guilty of feigning injury in a match with Coventry in August, he successfully appealed last month against the verdict, but, instead of returning to the game with renewed zest, he has found himself dismissed from Tottenham's first team plans.

Just before Christmas he indicated to the Tottenham management that he did not feel right 'mentally' to play, and has subsequently missed their last three fixtures. His decision angered Venables and his club who provided the Scotsman with stout support during his 'trials' at the FA.

Ian Wright faces a three-match ban if he is found guilty of misconduct when he appears at an FA disciplinary hearing in London today. The 29-year-old Arsenal forward looked to strike the Tottenham midfielder David Howells in last month's north London derby.

Wright, who has been warned by the England manager Graham Taylor that indiscipline could endanger his international career, was 'caught' by a television camera apparently taking a swing at Howells.

Vinnie Jones's appeal against a record pounds 20,000 fine, which was due to be heard by the FA next Wednesday, has been postponed.

Wimbledon asked for the hearing to be re-arranged because they will be returning from an FA Cup third-round replay against Everton at Goodison Park the previous night. The FA, who punished Jones for bringing the game into disrepute with his part in the video, Soccer's Hard Men, agreed to Wimbledon's request, but no new date has been fixed.