Football: Feyenoord join Korsten chase

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The Independent Online
GEORGE GRAHAM'S attempts to lure the Dutchman Willem Korsten away from Elland Road to Tottenham Hotspur could yet rebound on the former Leeds manager. Korsten may now end up returning to the Netherlands and signing for the Dutch champions, Feyenoord, according to his agent, Bob Maaskant, who admits that no decision has been made on the future of the 24-year-old.

David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, who was infuriated by the breakdown in contract negotiations between Korsten and the club's board last month, believes his predecessor poached the player, and he mantains that a deal was secured for pounds 1.3m from Vitesse Arnhem while Korsten was in the middle of a three-month loan spell at Elland Road.

Maaskant said: "I've heard all kind of rumours and all kind of stories that Willem is going to Spurs. Even David O'Leary seems to think that, while in Holland everybody seems to think he is going to Feyenoord.

"What I can tell you is that no decision has been made yet. All that has happened so far is that Spurs have shown an interest in the player. They have not signed him."

There appears no dispute, however, over Derby's attempts to sign the England Under-21 midfielder Seth Johnson from Crewe. Johnson, valued at pounds 3m, turned down a move to Pride Park in March, opting instead to help the First Division side in their fight against relegation. That battle won, the 20-year-old now looks set to leave Gresty Road and Derby are first in the queue for his services. Meanwhile, Derby have announced plans to build a pounds 5.5m Academy and training ground

The Scottish Premier League has revealed the promotion and relegation places next season will be determined by a play-off. Because of a commitment to increase the top flight to 12 clubs in the 2000-01 season, next term will see a shift from the current one-up, one-down system. The team finishing top of the First Division will receive automatic promotion as they do now, with the second and third-placed sides entering the play-offs. They will be joined by the team finishing bottom of the Premier League, and a mini-league will then take place between the trio.

The Irish government has declared it will boycott the Republic of Ireland's European Championship qualifier against Yugoslavia next month if the match goes ahead as planned at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. The government also expressed its "surprise and disappointment" at the decision made by Uefa, European football's ruling body, to allow the match, scheduled for 5 June, to take place while hostilities continue in the Balkans.

Aston Villa, resigned to losing Mark Bosnich, are hopeful of beating two Italian clubs and another from the Premiership to sign Colombia's World Cup goalkeeper, Farid Mondragon. The 27-year-old, who stands 6ft 6in, is on loan to Real Zaragoza from an Argentinian club. John Gregory, Villa's manager, is considering taking over Zaragoza's loan agreement for the next year.

Colin Lee, who was informally offered the job of managing Wolves after Sunday's defeat by Bradford City, has has still not accepted the post he has filled since 5 November in a caretaker capacity. Lee and his assistant, John Ward, want assurances about what funds will be available for strengthening the squad.

The former England international Peter Beardsley has been released by Third Division Hartlepool after helping to secure their League status while the ex-Wales and Everton goalkeeper, Neville Southall, intends to play on for one more season before ending his playing career at Torquay. Southall, 40, has signed a new contract.

Reading have released the 37-year-old former Republic of Ireland international Ray Houghton, who has come to the end of his contract after 45 league appearances for the Royals since August 1997.

Aberdeen's caretaker manager, Paul Hegarty, has been told that he will not remain in charge beyond the end of the season, despite the Dons retaining their Scottish Premier League status, because the club want a more experienced figure at the helm.