Football: Boot firm offer to bring Klinsmann to Bolton

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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers have been offered the chance to sign Jurgen Klinsmann by their sponsors, Reebok.

The First Division champions have been told by the boot and sportswear firm that they will help pay for the Bayern Munich striker's contract - even if it costs pounds 2.5m for a season. Klinsmann is one of Reebok's clients and it would be a marketing coup to have him wearing the company's strip and other accessories while playing for Bolton in the Premiership next season. The publicity surrounding the former Tottenham forward's return to the English game would also be priceless.

The company, which was founded in the Lancashire town, have already pledged pounds 2m in return for Bolton calling their new ground at Horwich the Reebok Stadium for the next 10 years.

Reebok's attempt to bring the German international to Bolton shows the lengths to which sportswear companies are prepared to go to gain an edge in a competitive business. Nike offered to help Lazio pay for the Brazilian, Ronaldo, because they did not like seeing the world's top player in a Kappa-sponsored Barcelona strip.

The Reebok proposal has been put to Bolton's manager Colin Todd, who already has the most prolific strike partnership in English football in John McGinlay and Nathan Blake, with 52 goals between them so far this season.

The only drawback would be the effect of Klinsmann's wages on the morale of the rest of the team. However, a world-class player would boost their survival chances next season. Germany's captain is also being chased by Everton and his former club, Tottenham.

The Polish striker, Marek Citko, could earn a pounds 2.5m move to Liverpool tonight. He is being watched by Roy Evans, the Anfield club's manager, against Italy in a World Cup qualifier in Naples.

Gianfranco Zola, in Naples to play for Italy in a World Cup qualifier against Poland tonight, has hinted that he may leave Chelsea in summer next year, even though he is under contract until the end of the 1999- 2000 season. "I'll remain in London next year, but then we'll see," he said. "I know what I would like to do. I've already decided, but I'm not going to say. It would bring me bad luck."

Reports in Dutch newspapers suggest that Philippe Albert could be on his way from Newcastle to Ajax. Morten Olsen, who takes over as Ajax's manager from Louis van Gaal at the end of the season, believes he could buy the defender for six million gilder (pounds 2m).

Neil Warnock was yesterday confirmed as Oldham Athletic's manager for next season - even though the Boundary Park club are almost certain to be relegated to the Second Division on Sunday. The former Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield and Plymouth manager has been in caretaker charge of the Latics since Graeme Sharp resigned at the end of February.

n Manchester United fans have been cleared of blame for problems at the club's Champions' League match against Porto in Portugal last month when police used plastic bullets and batons on them. Several United fans were hurt. Uefa, European football's governing body, have fined Porto 100,000 Swiss francs (pounds 45,000) for shortcomings in their organisation of the match.

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