Football: Deane deal ruins Rovers' Warhurst chase: Blackburn thwarted by chain reaction while United close on Keane

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The Independent Online
BLACKBURN ROVERS, already facing the prospect of losing out to Manchester United over Roy Keane, received another setback yesterday when Sheffield Wednesday vetoed a pounds 3m deal that would have taken Paul Warhurst to Ewood Park.

Wednesday were prepared to offload the 23-year-old Warhurst, who converted from defence to attack with such dramatic impact last season that he was called into the England squad, in the belief that they had a ready-made replacement lined up. However, Sheffield United's Brian Deane preferred Leeds, leaving Blackburn and Warhurst frustrated.

Richie Barker, assistant to the Wednesday manager, Trevor Francis, explained: 'It's like a house chain - the one we were buying has fallen through, so we can't sell.' His equivalent at Blackburn, Ray Harford, met Warhurst on Monday to discuss terms. The player, a pounds 750,000 recruit from Oldham two years ago, is apparently unhappy that he has not received an improved contract offer from Wednesday.

Kenny Dalglish also faces disappointment in his bid to sign Keane from Nottingham Forest. The Irish midfielder has expressed his desire to join the champions, and is expected to complete a pounds 3.75m transfer shortly.

Glenn Hoddle's value was set at a more modest level yesterday. The new Chelsea player-manager, nearing 36, was rated at pounds 1m by Swindon, but an independent tribunal ordered the Stamford Bridge club to pay pounds 75,000 plus pounds 2,000 per appearance up to 50 games.

Sunderland are to pay pounds 850,000 for Luton's Northern Ireland international Phil Gray, the 24-year-old former Tottenham striker. Portsmouth have paid pounds 200,000 for John Durnin, the Oxford striker. Jim Smith, the Pompey manager, said Durnin was a replacement for Colin Clarke, who has been forced to retire, rather than the transfer- seeking Guy Whittingham.

Barnet, whose Football League future will be decided by a meeting of clubs next Monday, yesterday lost an appeal against a pounds 25,000 League fine imposed for an alleged illegal payment to a player, Paul Showler.

Milan's Ruud Gullit is to sign for Sampdoria for an undisclosed sum after moves to Bayern Munich and Torino fell through. Karlheinz Riedle's pounds 4.7m transfer from Lazio to Borussia Dortmund is also going through.