Football: Graham targets bargain Draper

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GEORGE GRAHAM is planning to sign the Aston Villa midfielder Mark Draper on a free transfer when his current deal runs out at the end of the season.

Draper is out of John Gregory's Villa first team squad because of the protracted dispute over his future. He did not even make the 16 to face Arsenal on Sunday. Now Graham is confident of taking Draper to Tottenham when he can move for nothing next summer. The clubs could even strike a compromise deal and agree a knock-down fee in advance.

Graham, a long-time admirer of Draper, was keen on signing him for Leeds United when he was in charge there and the current Tottenham director of football, David Pleat, was his manager at Leicester.

More good news for Graham is that David Ginola, who believes he has three to four more years of top-flight football in him, is set to see out his career in England, virtually ruling out a return to France. "Being realistic, I see my future in England and at Tottenham," he said yesterday. "The best French clubs have a youth policy. It's more interesting [for them] to follow a youngster," the 31-year-old Frenchman told the sports daily L'Equipe.

Ginola was linked with a return to his former club Paris St Germain when Artur Jorge took over as coach from the sacked Alain Giresse in October. The speculation arose because Ginola enjoyed a good understanding with the Portuguese coach during his spell at PSG in the early 1990s.

Ginola, however, is enjoying his football and says his family are also settled happily in London. The player, who it was originally thought might find himself out of favour with the pragmatic Graham, said: "We work very hard, especially defensively. It's something I have to force myself to do. But I've made progress and Graham has, maybe, been surprised.

"[We] can perhaps at last give the [Spurs] crowd what they've been waiting for over the past seven years. It's as motivating as the start at PSG."

Promotion-chasing Bradford City want Newcastle United's forgotten man Philippe Albert. The Belgian centre-back is out of Ruud Gullit's immediate first team plans and is a free agent at the end of the season. The Bradford manager, Paul Jewell, wants to take Albert on loan to bolster his team in their ambitious bid for the Premier League. Gullit may be willing to let Albert leave and the final decision may rest with the accomplished centre-back.

Neil McCann last night promised to try to thrill the Rangers supporters the way the late Davie Cooper used to do. Cooper picked up 22 caps during his career and was revered at Ibrox for his speed and skill down the flanks.

McCann sealed a pounds 1.6m move from Hearts yesterday and is widely seen as one of the old school of Scottish wingers. After signing a four-and-half- year contract, the 24-year-old Scotland squad member revealed he was a huge fan of Cooper's. "He was always hero of mine," said McCann. "Hopefully I can get near to his achievements in the game."

McCann, who trained with the squad yesterday, could make his debut on Saturday against his former team-mates at Tynecastle. He becomes the 10th player to be recruited by the Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, since the summer.

Advocaat's latest acquisition takes his spending spree to an astonishing pounds 33m and he said today: "Neil is a very promising player, very quick and I am delighted he has joined us."

The South African finance and banking group, Spirit, are considering making a bid for the 68 per cent of Everton held by the former chairman, Peter Johnson, who resigned two weeks ago.