Football: Gray set to reopen negotiations with Everton

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Andy Gray will arrive back in England tonight to reopen negotiations that look likely to end with him being installed as Everton's new manager.

The 41-year-old Scot met the Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, on Tuesday and laid down his demands for total control of team affairs before flying out to Spain for a holiday.

Gray, a former Everton striker, seems certain to get his wish with Howard Kendall unlikely to quit Sheffield United for anything other than a return to the top job at Goodison Park and Bobby Robson still embroiled in negotiations over his future at Barcelona.

"I don't really want to comment on the situation at Everton at the moment," Gray said. "There is still a lot of talking to be done with one or two people."

The possibility of Bobby Robson taking over remains shrouded in as much doubt as ever. Johnson has constantly denied reports that Robson has already rejected one offer, but his name was put in the frame again earlier this week when his Barcelona assistant, Jose Mourinho, said they would both be leaving the club.

Brian Laudrup looks certain to remain with Rangers until the end of next season despite another attempt by Ajax to lure him away. The Danish international last week committed himself to the Scottish champions until May at least.

Ajax had agreed personal terms for the striker, rated at pounds 4.5m, before the deal broke down but they are now to make another attempt to sign him. The Dutch club are anxious to team him up with brother Michael, who moved yesterday from Japanese club Kobe.

The Leeds striker Brian Deane has confirmed he wants to leave Elland Road, and the Dutch side Feyenoord are his most likely destination. Deane can have a free transfer to a Continental club under the Bosman ruling and will make a final decision at the end of this month.

Leeds could also lose their 31-year-old full-back Tony Dorigo, who has been having talks with two clubs this week, one in England the other in Europe. Leeds would want around pounds 1.5m.

Jimmy Nicholl was yesterday named as manager of Raith Rovers with immediate effect. The former Northern Ireland international returns to take charge of a club he led to Scottish League Cup success only two years ago. He will be working alongside the incumbent chairman, Alex Penman, as a proposed takeover of the club shows no sign of being completed.

Stoke City are trying to sign the veteran striker Paul Stewart to clear the way for the sale of the pounds 2.5m-rated Mike Sheron. The managerless club have made an approach to the experienced Sunderland player who wants to move closer to his Blackpool home.

The Bolton winger Scott Green snubbed Tranmere Rovers at the last minute yesterday to join Wigan. Green was set to sign for John Aldridge for pounds 300,000, but Wigan came up with better personal terms.

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