Football: Dalglish brings Raul to Britain

Kenny Dalglish was overseeing comings and goings at Newcastle United yesterday, acquiring the Portuguese defender Raul and considering Sunderland's pounds 2.5m offer for Lee Clark.

Dalglish has gone abroad to make his first signing, the Under-21 international Raul, who is out of contract at Farense, on a free transfer. "There have been problems at Farense where I have not been paid," the pounds 2m-rated Raul said. "My contract has now been cancelled."

The new Newcastle manager, however, has a difficult task deciding Clark's fate after Sunderland met the asking price for the transfer-listed midfielder, who has scored in United's last four games but is on the transfer list because he wants regular first-team football.

Sunderland are attempting to sign Poland's World Cup striker, Marek Citko, who had been a target for Blackburn. Rovers are stalling on the pounds 4m transfer and now want the 22-year-old Widzew Lodz player on loan, which has allowed the Roker Park side to step in.

Gianluca Vialli has put Chelsea minds at rest by pledging his future to the club, despite being on the substitutes' bench. "I am not at all thinking of going away," the former Juventus captain said. "What has happened has been blown out of all proportion because of a couple of phrases a week ago."

The Norwich City winger Darren Eadie has signed an extension to his contract which will keep him at Carrow Road until 1999. Norwich have also signed the Everton defender Neil Moore on a short-term contract. The 24-year- old Liverpudlian had been on loan at the First Division club.

The Hartlepool manager, Mick Tait, who quit over the weekend, was back in charge yesterday after being persuaded to change his mind.

Talks are taking place which could see the number of clubs relegated from the Premiership cut to just two each season. The Premier League is aiming for a two-up, two-down, scheme - offering Football League clubs a financial compensation package if they agree. Chris Hull, the Football League spokesman, confirmed that discussions had begun, but that they were "very much at the preliminary stage".

Northern Ireland, who play Italy in a friendly in Palermo tomorrow, have lost two more players: Newcastle's Keith Gillespie and Sheffield Wednesday's Ian Nolan have pulled out with injuries. Robbie Dennison, of Wolves, has been called up.

The Barcelona striker Ronaldo was last night named as Fifa's "Player of the Year" for 1996. After world football's governing body polled more than 100 national coaches, Ronaldo gained 329 points, last year's winner George Weah earned 140, and Alan Shearer 123.

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