Football: Coventry to sign Aloisi for pounds 650,000

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HARD-UP Portsmouth are transferring the striker John Aloisi to Coventry City for a bargain pounds 650,000 at the start of their unpopular Christmas sale. The Australian forward, the scorer of 17 goals this season, had talks with the Sky Blues' manager, Gordon Strachan, last night and will complete the formalities today.

The Fratton Park club will receive only around pounds 500,000 while Aloisi's former club, Cremonese in Italy, will receive the pounds 200,000 they are still owed by Pompey when they signed him 18 months ago.

Pompey are losing pounds 40,000 a week and their chairman, Martin Gregory, has placed all players on the transfer list in a bid to ease a crippling wage bill in excess of pounds 3m a year.

Liverpool are set to signing the 33-year-old German defender, Thomas Helmer. The Bayern Munich man is believed to have been offered a six- month contract, with the option of a further year. The deal is unlikely to be completed in time for Helmer to play in the home game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Two defenders, Olexandr Holovko of Dynamo Kiev and Salernitana's Rigobert Song, and the Monaco goalkeeper Tony Silva all had trials at Liverpool's training ground yesterday. The Anfield manager, Gerard Houllier, is also close to signing the 17-year-old Icelandic defender Endredre Sigurdsson from KR Reykjavik.

The Blackburn Rovers manager, Brian Kidd, will today make a final pounds 4.5m bid for Ashley Ward before switching his transfer sights to Matt Jansen, who would be available at a similar price from Crystal Palace.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have placed their highly-rated defender Dean Richards on the transfer list at his own request. Derby County have taken the Finnish international striker Jonatan Johansson on a three- day trial from Rangers with a view to a permanent transfer.

Graham Allner has resigned after a 15-year reign as the manager of the Conference club, Kidderminster Harriers.