Football: Chelsea join the hunt for Di Canio

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The Independent Online
CHELSEA HAVE joined the chase for Paolo Di Canio, while West Ham have also contacted Sheffield Wednesday about the troubled Italian, who has not played since his infamous push on referee Paul Alcock in September.

The 30-year-old striker is rated at pounds 2m, though he would still be a gamble even at that knock-down price.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, has dismissed fresh reports that Liverpool were set to buy Rio Ferdinand - and then flew to France hoping to complete his own signing, of Marc-Vivien Foe.

Reports yesterday claimed that Liverpool had made a pounds 10m move for the Hammers' England defender Ferdinand, but Redknapp said: "It is absolute rubbish. We have had weeks and weeks of this kind of story and I am so fed up with it because it has done us no favours at all. We are currently talking to Rio about improving his current seven-year contract, which shows our intention to keep him."

Redknapp was speaking just before jetting out to complete a pounds 4m deal for 23-year-old Cameroon midfielder Foe from Lens.

Foe will be able to play for the Hammers immediately and will not have any work permit problems. He applied for a French passport a year ago to become an EU citizen and is due to collect it today.

Liverpool have completed the formalities of the pounds 2.6m signing of defender Rigobert Song. The work permit needed for the Cameroon international to start his Anfield career arrived yesterday and he will return to England on Monday.

Song, who played in Serie A for Salernitana, agreed to move to Liverpool at Christmas. But he was not allowed to stay in the country while a work permit was considered by the Government. Song, who played for Cameroon in the last two World Cup finals, will almost certainly make his debut for Liverpool at Coventry next Saturday.

Brian Horton has left Brighton to become the new manager of Port Vale. Horton had been given official permission to speak to the midlands club by Brighton chairman Dick Knight and quickly made up his mind to succeed long-serving John Rudge at Vale Park. Jeff Wood has been named as caretaker manager.

After struggling against financial problems, relegation to the Football Conference and a move out of their famous Goldstone Ground home for a temporary stay at Gillingham, Horton has taken the club to the brink of a play-off place.

However, the lure of a return to the First Division proved too much, despite Vale's perilous League position.

"I've done everything possible to persuade him to stay but I believe the attraction of the move for Brian has a lot to do with the opportunity to be closer to his family," Knight said.

"I'm saddened by his departure but no one man is bigger than the club and it will be business as usual as we seek to build on the progress made on all fronts this season."

Horton said: "It's been a tough decision because I have such a great affinity with the Brighton fans. But I played for Port Vale and I'm looking forward to going back there."

Attilio Lombardo joined Lazio from Crystal Palace yesterday. The 33-year- old signed a contract to the end of next season.

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