Football: Bolton set to land Hughes

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MARK HUGHES is ready to leave Chelsea this week - with the Bolton manager, Colin Todd, poised to snap up the Welsh veteran.

Hughes has decided the time is right to quit Stamford Bridge and Todd plans to talk him into a transfer to Wanderers, ending a two-year chase for his signature. The former Manchester United striker, 34, believes he still has a couple of good years left in him.

Although Hughes, who owns two houses in Cheshire, has a year left on his Chelsea contract, Bolton are hoping that a fee will not be required, helping them to find the money to offer him a decent contract.

The Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, is keen to sign Argentina's new midfield discovery, Juan Riquelme.

Ferguson's brother, Martin, United's new European scout, sent back glowing reviews about the 19-year-old playmaker, who excelled at the Toulon Under- 21 tournament, which was won by his country. Now the Old Trafford club will approach Riquelme's club, Boca Juniors, about a transfer fee - but they may face competition from the Italian side, Internazionale.

The Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, has also been scouting overseas: he has his eyes on Denmark's Under-21 defender, Martin Laursen.

Dalglish and his assistant, Terry McDermott, watched the 20-year-old Laursen play for Silkeborg in Sunday's Danish Super League match against Aarhus. The centre-back would cost around pounds 1.1m. Nearer home, the Magpies are also chasing Sheffield United's Cornish-born England Under-21 left- back, Wayne Quinn.

With a merger apparently imminent between Clydebank and Livingston, three Highland League clubs, Elgin City, Peterhead and Huntly, plus Gala Fairydean from the Borders, are set to apply for the vacancy in the Scottish League that would then arise.