Football: Barcelona in pounds 20m move for Shearer

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The Independent Online
No sooner has he returned to action following his third groin operation in 10 months than Alan Shearer is once again linked with a move to the Continent.

Barcelona are reported to have made a pounds 20m offer in a bid to prise the England striker away from Newcastle. The Spanish side see the pounds 15m world- record signing as the ideal replacement for Ronaldo, who is reported to be moving to Italy before the start of next season.

Newcastle know any move to sell Shearer would be greeted with outrage by the Toon Army. Shearer returned to his Tyneside roots in a blaze of publicity last summer when Kevin Keegan signed him from Blackburn and is Newcastle's leading scorer, despite missing two months of the season through injury.

He marked his return at the weekend with the goal that earned Newcastle a 1-1 draw in the derby with Sunderland at St James's Park.

Meanwhile, Newcastle did confirm yesterday that they would send a side to compete in a quadrangular tournament at Lansdowne Road in July. Celtic and the Dutch club, PSV Eindhoven, will also send sides to the event on 15 and 16 July, which will also involve the League of Ireland champions.

Scotland and Wales are to meet for the first time since the World Cup qualifier synonymous with the death of Jock Stein 12 years ago. The game will be played at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, on Tuesday 27 May.

The last time the two teams met was at Ninian Park, Cardiff, on 10 September 1985, when the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Stein, the then Scotland manager, collapsed with a heart attack shortly after his side had put themselves on course for the World Cup finals in Mexico.

Bobby Gould, the Wales manager, has been trying to revive the home international championships, which were brought to an end in 1984, possibly for the B teams from each country.

Scotland want action at the end of May in preparation for their World Cup qualifier with Belarus in Minsk on 8 June. The Welsh match comes four days after the Scottish Cup final and Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, also wants an away fixture around 2 June to try and fill that gap. Cyprus, Malta and Macedonia have all been mentioned as possible opponents for the second fixture.

On the link with Stein, Brown said: "That would make a game with Wales a very poignant occasion. Jock Stein is fondly remembered in Scotland as the greatest ever Scottish manager. I'm sure that would be acknowledged in some way."