Football: Anfield target French prodigy

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The Independent Online
GeRARD HOULLIER is making a surprise attempt to sign the France Under-21 defender Jean-Alain Boumsong. The Liverpool manager was in Northern Ireland for their Under-21 international against the French last night and was hoping to set up a deal for the youngster, who has been hailed as a new Marcel Desailly.

Boumsong, who is a first-team regular for Le Havre and in his national under-21s, would cost about pounds 1m.

Houllier knows the powerful Boumsong from his time with the French FA and wants to step in first for him before rival bidders make a move.

Liverpool bought centre-backs Stephane Henchoz and Sammy Hyypia in the summer, but Boumsong would push for a first-team place. His presence could also possibly release Jamie Carragher to play in midfield while Dietmar Hamann is out for the next three months.

Steve Bruce yesterday made veteran defender Ken Monkou his eighth signing since taking over the reins at Huddersfield during the close season. Monkou, 34, agreed a three-month contract after leaving Southampton and that deal is expected to be extended.

The Derby County manager, Jim Smith, will sign Lee Morris from Sheffield United in a pounds 3m deal today - despite the fact he has a broken foot.

Smith made his bid yesterday and wants a deal for the speedy England Under-21 forward tied up quickly, although he will not be fit to play for a couple of weeks. Morris will sign a contract subject to his passing a medical when he is fully fit. He has only played a handful of games for United, but is rated as one of the brightest prospects around.

Smith wants to bring in new faces after a poor start to the season because his lack of attacking options has reduced Derby's goal threat.

Leeds have still not received the pounds 6m first instalment from Atletico Madrid for their former striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. But the Elland Road chairman, Peter Ridsdale, is confident that the transfer saga of the Dutchman is finally over.

Hasselbaink quit Leeds in a pounds 12m deal days before the start of the season, but a Spanish Bank Holiday apparently prevented the money arriving on Monday. "I am told it is on its way but it hasn't cleared with the bank yet. However, I think everything is resolved," Ridsdale said.

The Scottish Football Association are to ask Dundee United and Celtic for their version of the "can-throwing" incident at Tannadice Park on Sunday.

The Dundee United striker Billy Dodds was almost hit by the missile when it was thrown from the visitors' end as the player celebrated his goal in the home side's surprise 2-1 victory.

Celtic have called on supporters to name the fans involved and have promised that the offenders will be banned from Parkhead for life once they are caught. A pounds 45,000 fine was imposed on them following the disturbances at the controversial Old Firm game in May, when the referee Hugh Dallas was struck on the head by a coin thrown by a Celtic supporter, the latest setback is one the Parkhead club could well have done without.

Aberdeen are giving a trial to the Bruges defender Pascal Renier. The 28-year-old 6ft centre-back will join up with the Dons squad this week as their manager, Ebbe Skovdahl, seeks to end his side's woeful start to the season.

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