Football: Blackburn battle for Swiss playmaker

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The Independent Online
Roy Hodgson's Blackburn Rovers are competing with the German club Bundesliga Kaiserslautern for the Swiss midfielder, Ciriaco Sforza. Rovers have already offered pounds 3m to Hodgson's old club, Internazionale, for the skilful Sforza - but now face a fight to capture him for next season.

Sforza played for Kaiserslautern earlier in his career, and the newly promoted club confirmed their interest yesterday and revealed they had also made a bid. Their coach, Otto Rehhagel, said: "Inter have told us he is available, so we have a chance of signing him. We know there is opposition but we are keen to have him back."

Hodgson does not officially take control at Ewood Park until 1 July, but he also has moves for the French right-back Patrick Valery, the Swedish striker Martin Dahlin and two other Swiss internationals, Stephane Chapuisat and Stephane Henchoz, on the go.

The Huddersfield manager Brian Horton is trying to sign Peter Beagrie from his old club, Manchester City. Beagrie joined City for pounds 1.1m but is now available at around pounds 300,000. Swindon have also made a move for him.

Celtic's Scottish international left-back Tosh McKinlay is discussing possible transfers to Wolves and Queen's Park Rangers. He will decide which First Division club to join in the next 48 hours after rejecting a new contract at Parkhead.

McKinlay's fellow Celtic player, Peter Grant, is another target for Wolves, who are also interested in Gareth Farrelly, Aston Villa's Republic of Ireland midfielder.

Stoke have offered their striker Mike Sheron a two-year contract extension in a quest to head off interest from Birmingham City and Queen's Park Rangers. The deal would keep the prolific Sheron at the Potteries until 2001, as he has another two years to run on his present contract.

Stoke have refused Walsall permission to approach their coach Mike Pejic about their managerial vacancy.

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