Football: Bruce walks out on the Blades

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The Independent Online
STEVE BRUCE has resigned as Sheffield United's manager after only 10 difficult months in charge. He could now make the short journey to one of two other Nationwide First Division clubs, Huddersfield Town or Barnsley.

The former Manchester United captain guided Sheffield United to eighth place in the division and the last 16 of the FA Cup in a season dominated by boardroom upheavals and unexpected cash restraints. When Bruce took over in July last year, he was promised pounds 5m for new players, but none of that materialised and the club eventually announced a pounds 6m loss.

Willem Korsten yesterday snubbed a life in Yorkshire and opted life in north London after joining Tottenham Hotspur for pounds 1.5m. The Dutch midfielder has signed a four-year contract within weeks of turning down approaches from Leeds United, which he described as "personal and more than just financial".

Korsten had a successful loan spell with Leeds, scoring two goals in his 10 matches after the club paid Vitesse Arnhem pounds 200,000 for the loan period. A further pounds 1.3m was to follow on completion of a permanent deal for the player.

Contract talks with Leeds initially stalled on Korsten's wage demands but the club's chairman, Peter Ridsdale, eventually agreed to the the Dutch Under-21 international's modified request - only to discover that Korsten no longer found them acceptable because the club "had not given in to his demands" at the first meeting.

But Korsten said yesterday: "It was hugely disappointing I didn't join Leeds, I felt they were the perfect club for me because they were doing very well. I was very excited that they wanted to sign me, but it wasn't meant to be. I decided not to join Leeds for personal reasons, and there were quite a few at the end. It wasn't just about money."

The move angered the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, who was the assistant to George Graham before the Scot left to manage Spurs.

Chris Sutton will be put up for sale by Blackburn Rovers this week if he wants to leave the relegated club. He has been called in for talks about his future and their manager, Brian Kidd, is seeking a quick answer about whether he plans to exercise an escape clause in his contract.

If Sutton wants out Kidd will tell the board to sell him and an auction will begin involving Chelsea, Tottenham, Aston Villa and possibly even Manchester United.

The same "make your mind up" rules apply to Stephane Henchoz, the Swiss international centre-half who is a target for Liverpool. Henchoz would cost about pounds 3.5m and Kidd is willing to let him leave so that he seek a replacement.

The Rovers striker Nathan Blake has undergone an operation on a shin injury and will be unable to train for most of the summer.

Dejan Stefanovic is leaving Sheffield Wednesday to sign for Perugia, in Italy's Serie A. The Yugoslav international defender has failed to make an impact at Hillsborough and will lose his work permit in the summer.

Paul Bracewell has raided one of his former clubs, Sunderland, to make the Welsh international Andy Melville his first signing for Fulham, who are now back in the First Division. Melville is a free agent under the Bosman ruling.

Another defender on a free move is Richard Gough. The 37-year-old Scot will join Everton after spending two months at Nottingham Forest on loan.

Kanu has said he and his fellow Arsenal players have pleaded with Nicolas Anelka to stay at the club next season.

Anelka, the gifted but moody Frenchman who has been at the centre of much speculation over his future and his decision may govern the level of Arsenal investment for next season.

Milan Mandaric, an American-based Serbian millionaire, is the head of a consortium, including the club's former vice-chairman, David Deacon, and the ex-Arsenal defender Bob McNab, who have paid pounds 4.5m to take over Portsmouth.