Football: Celtic move closer to Burns

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The Independent Online
CELTIC'S anxious search for a manager appeared near completion yesterday when their No 1 target, Tommy Burns, resigned as manager of Kilmarnock, writes Henry Winter.

Celtic must still negotiate a major obstacle before being reunited with Burns, their popular former midfielder. Burns's registration 'as player and manager' has been retained by Kilmarnock, whose chairman, Bobby Fleeting, said: '(We) have given no permission to Celtic to speak to him.'

Burns left Rugby Park 'crying', according to Fleeting, who added: 'We are also hurt and upset because he was a friend of ours.

'We have reported the whole situation to the Scottish League and the SFA and will be looking for suitable compensation.'

Martin Edwards, the Manchester United chairman, said yesterday that Norwich City's pounds 5m valuation of their premier player, Chris Sutton, exceeded what the champions were prepared to pay.

On Sunday, Edwards' Carrow Road counterpart, Robert Chase, announced that the 21-year-old England B striker was available for pounds 5m. 'I spoke to Mr Chase last week and he is aware of our interest and our valuation of the player,' Edwards said. 'I am not prepared to say how much that is, but it is short of pounds 5m.

'Another thing which makes is difficult is the fact that Norwich want other clubs to agree to pay that much before speaking to the player and that is not helpful.

'Often it is the attitude of the player, whether he is keen and enthusiastic, which determines what price you are prepared to go to.

'Mr Chase has set his valuation, and if another club agrees then that's up to them, but our valuation is short of his.' Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal and Liverpool are also interested in Sutton.

Liverpool's neighbours, Tranmere Rovers, expect their manager, John King, to sign a new four-year contract later this week. The Endsleigh club have been refused permission to continue with Friday evening matches.

After a weekend of contract talks, Gary Mabbutt, the 32-year- old Tottenham Hotspur captain, agreed a new two-year deal to stay at White Hart Lane.

Kenny Sansom, a former England colleague of Mabbutt's, yesterday became Watford's player- coach. Sansom played for Chertsey Town last season. Glenn Roeder, the Vicarage Road manager, also signed up Millwall's Jamie Moralee and Geoffrey Pitcher in a joint pounds 450,000 deal.