Football: Chelsea lead pounds 12m chase for Sutton
Thursday 20 May 1999
Sutton has decided to activate a clause in his contract that allows him to leave, and most of the major players in the transfer market have shown their hands in the last 48 hours.
The Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, wants to speak to Sutton before the weekend to talk him into joining the Stamford Bridge side.
Bates wants to make the first serious approach for Sutton and has put a move for Roma's Marco Delvecchio on ice until he knows the outcome of the summer's first major transfer chase.
Sutton's availability has sparked widespread interest despite his price, which is double what Blackburn paid for him in a record deal five years ago. The fee is based on an escape clause in his contract. Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester United are all interested, but their bids depend on other factors, unlike Chelsea's straight cash move.
Villa can only afford Sutton if they reluctantly trade their England Under-21 centre-half Riccardo Scimeca. Blackburn have already offered pounds 3m for him. Scimeca may have come off the transfer list, but the Rovers bid will still be put to him this weekend when he returns from a club holiday.
The Spurs manager, George Graham, is very keen on Sutton, but will have trouble raising the money and also matching the wages on offer elsewhere. Graham could offer one or more of several players in part exchange, with the striker Chris Armstrong probably the most attractive to Blackburn.
Manchester United are waiting in the wings, but the size of their transfer kitty reduces their hopes drastically. Their chairman, Martin Edwards, warned again yesterday that funds are low following the breakdown of Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid.
Alex Ferguson's priorities are a goalkeeper and full-back plus midfield cover. Those deals may use up his limited funds. While the United manager would like Sutton in his squad, he would be an expensive signing at a time when his club is short of ready cash.
Edwards, however, has insisted that there will be no summer spending spree at United. The chairman Edwards is adamant that there will be no repeat of the pounds 28m splashed out on Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke and Jesper Blomqvist last year.
United may claim to be the biggest and richest club in the world, but Edwards claims money is tight because of the pounds 44m earmarked for the redevelopment of Old Trafford and the new training complex at Carrington.
"We have a good squad and a big squad," Edwards said. "We have a lot of players and a lot of big-name international players who aren't featuring regularly in the team. We can look at the squad and, if the manager wants to change things around a little bit, that won't be a problem.
"But, as I keep on saying," Edwards added, "we can't go on spending the pounds 28m we spent last season on top of all the other things we're doing. Money doesn't grow on trees - and these things have to be paid for."
Ferguson said last week: "If we have some success this year, it is only right to go out and buy. I don't think you can ever stand still and you have to keep strengthening."
A United fans' spokesman, Andy Walsh, has criticised Edwards for "shouting his mouth off" at a lack of spending power this summer.
"It's not Edwards' decision. It's the board of directors who make the decision," Walsh, the chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association, said. "I think it's extremely injudicious to make a statement like he has at this time of Manchester United's quest for trophies and I'd be surprised if the other directors didn't take the same view."
The German club Borussia Dortmund are rivals to Liverpool in the race for Blackburn's Swiss centre-half, Stephane Henchoz. Borussia are willing to offer the former Hamburg player a return to the Bundesliga, while Liverpool are also keen to speak to him about joining them.
Collymore verdict within a month, page 31
Latest in Sport
Manchester United pre-season tour 2015: Louis van Gaal wins battle to relocate friendly - 60,000 refunded to save on 90-mile trip
Wojciech Szczesny was 'lied to' by Arsene Wenger over future after £11m transfer of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
England vs Japan - Women's World Cup semi-final: what time does it start and what channel is it on?
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for forward despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...