Football: Fact and Fiction from the Sunday papers

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER CITY'S Georgian talisman Georgi Kinkladze, almost certain to leave Maine Road, has sent a "come and get me" plea to Liverpool, according to the News of the World. However, the People reckons Liverpool's sights are on a summer swoop for Leicester's England Under-21 striker, Emile Heskey, for whom they are reportedly prepared to go to pounds 8m.

After the upheaval at Aston Villa, the Mail on Sunday believes Dwight Yorke is on the verge of leaving the Midlands club, with Arsenal, Manchester United and their Uefa Cup opponents, Atletico Madrid, jostling for his pounds 10m signature. The News of the World, however, says the new Villa manager, John Gregory, will resist attempts to prise his striker away and wants to keep his other restless stars, too. None the less, he might struggle to keep Gareth Southgate, whom the People says is ready to go, believing the appointment of the inexperienced former Wycombe Wanderers manager is further evidence of the club's lack of ambition.

Should they fail to lure Yorke, Arsenal could move instead for the Argentinian striker Marcelo Dalgado, valued at pounds 3m by River Plate and named by the News of the World as a target for Roma as well as the London club.

Meanwhile, Everton, Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday are described by the Mirror as rivals with Milan for the Italian international Pierluigi Casiraghi, who will be surplus to requirements at Lazio following the signing of Marcelo Salas. Salas chose Italy ahead of Manchester United, whom the People reckons would have to fork out pounds 25m if they want to land another South American striker, Fiorentina's Gabriel Batistuta - pounds 15m to the Italian club plus pounds 1.3m a year net for a five-year deal.

The same paper reckons ambitious Middlesbrough could raid the Italian market again if they win promotion, with the Juventus striker Alessandro del Piero a target, even at pounds 13m.