Football: Desailly set to sign for Chelsea

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CHELSEA are set to double their spending in the space of a week by signing Marcel Desailly for pounds 5m from Milan, following last week's capture of Pierluigi Casiraghi for pounds 5.4m.

Desailly, named in France's World Cup squad yesterday, is believed to have been offered a four-year contract worth around pounds 40,000 a week.

Lionel Perez, meanwhile, is to double the number of former Sunderland goalkeepers at Newcastle by moving on a free transfer on 1 July. Perez will join Shay Given, who had a successful loan period on Wearside when he was at Blackburn.

The Frenchman's departure leaves Peter Reid, the Sunderland manager, needing to strengthen his squad. He may not have far to look, however, as he is believed to be interested in taking Srnicek from Newcastle.

Rangers have denied they are trying to tempt Alan Shearer into a move to Glasgow, admitting they have no chance of signing him. Newcastle have consistently stated that Shearer is not for sale and Rangers' vice-chairman, Donald Findlay, said any move for the England captain would not be practical.

Also keeping a firm grip on their players are Liverpool, who yesterday said Karlheinz Riedle and Patrik Berger are not about to be sold to Paris St-Germain and Benfica respectively.

Tottenham were also in denial yesterday, saying they had not offered Italian side Empoli pounds 5m for their striker Carmine Esposito, despite a statement to the contrary on Clubcall.

Bolton's Alan Thompson looks to have to make a choice between Leeds and Aston Villa if both clubs make the same offer. Villa are looking for a compromise between their valuation of pounds 3.5m and the asking price of pounds 5m, while Leeds say Bolton will let them match any offer and they could be favourites as the 24-year-old midfielder is believed to want to stay in the north.

Organisers of a pre-season friendly tournament in the Netherlands have withdrawn Nottingham Forest's invitation because of fears of unwanted publicity as one of the other teams involved is Anderlecht.

Forest are taking the Belgium club to court in a bid to claim compensation over allegations they bribed the referee of their 1984 Uefa Cup semi-final.