The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, refused to say how much the Dutch international has had to pay, but insisted that an improving team spirit, and a much-improved disciplinary record, mean his side can still challenge Manchester United for the Premiership title.
"We have improved since the beginning of the season," he said. "I think as well, for example against Blackburn recently, they had as many yellow cards as we had, so I don't know why we are the ones who have to give explanations all the time."
The French international Mickael Madar will arrive in Liverpool today to continue talks with Everton, who have been given permission by his Spanish club, Deportivo La Coruna, to negotiate with the 29-year-old former Monaco striker.
Dave Hill, the chairman of Soccer Australia, the country's football governing body, admitted yesterday that he may struggle to keep Terry Venables as national coach in the face of competition from the likes of South Africa. The former England coach was put on an eight-strong shortlist to replace Clive Barker, who resigned on Saturday, despite the South Africans having qualified for the World Cup finals.
Venables failed to guide Australia through to France 98 but is still viewed as a desirable property in international management. Hill acknowledged that reputation, saying: "The problem is - and always has been - we cannot afford to pay Venables what he is demonstrably worth. A lot of countries have made it quite clear - those who have qualified for the World Cup finals - that they want him. His record is terrific."
Not that good, perhaps. His Australia side lost 6-0 to Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup in Riyadh on Sunday, Ronaldo and Romario both scoring hat-tricks.
Barnsley are thought to be ready to stand by Dean Jones after he was banned for three months by the Football Association yesterday after testing positive for amphetamines at Barnsley's training ground in October. The 20-year-old defender pleaded guilty to the offence at a hearing in London, claiming he took the substance at a night-club on 26 October to keep him awake, not to enhance his performance.
Tom Pendry MP was yesterday appointed chairman designate of the Football Trust and will take up the post next year, when the present chairman, Lord Aberdare, retires after 19 years. Pendry was the founding chairman of the influential All-Party Football Group in 1982 and served in this role for 10 years prior to becoming shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism, a position he held until the General Election.
The Professional Footballers' Association is to monitor the increasing number of complaints from managers that players are diving and feigning injury in Premiership matches. Neither the PFA nor the League Managers' Association believe that the problem is widespread within the British game - but say that it is something which must be kept in check.Reuse content