David Dein, the Arsenal vice-chairman, is believed to have been in Italy over the weekend negotiating the purchase, which would take the club's spending since June to pounds 18m. However, the deal could run into legal problems because Ince's transfer from Old Trafford is understood to have included a clause giving United first refusal if Internazionale decide to sell him.
Middlesbrough are confident Brazil's Juninho will make his Premiership debut against Leeds United at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, as they near a settlement of the dispute with Sao Paulo over the payment of the pounds 4.75m fee.
The club say half that money will be paid to the Brazilians within 48 hours as soon as an international certificate is received. Keith Lamb, Middlesbrough's chief executive, said: "I understand it's on its way. We expect him to play against Leeds.''
Juninho trained yesterday less than 24 hours after arriving on Teesside following his flight from South America. "He will be eased in gradually. We will have a full scale practice match on Thursday, when he will be given the role we want him to play," his new manager, Bryan Robson, said.
Manchester United have learned that the Football Association does not intend to extend Roy Keane's punishment beyond the statutory four-match ban for being sent off against Middlesbrough on Saturday. "It was a football offence," an FA spokesman said, ''and we consider the correct suspension is already in place.'' United have cooled speculation that they are about to buy Auxerre's Algerian midfielder, Moussa Saib, to fill the right flank position vacated by the transferred Andrei Kanchelskis. "We are aware of Saib," their manager, Alex Ferguson said, "but we haven't made any approach.''
The FA says the former Arsenal manager, George Graham, is unlikely to face further punishment despite his admission in a tabloid newspaper yesterday that he took transfer bungs.
"Everything I have read so far appears to have been covered by the Commission of Inquiry," Steve Double, an FA spokesman, said. That inquiry imposed a worldwide ban on Graham for 12 months.
Commenting on Graham's claims that he had been instrumental in the transfers of Peter Schmeichel and Kanchelskis to Manchester United, the United director Maurice Watkins said: "Manchester United's reaction is one of complete surprise. I have spoken to Alex Ferguson and the chairman Martin Edwards and no one in the club was aware of any involvement of George Graham's in either transfer. We have never made any secret of Raune Hauge's involvement, that has been well documented already. Everything was conducted in a proper manner."
Tottenham and Newcastle are facing an FA inquiry into Ruel Fox's pounds 4.5m transfer. Both Spurs and Kevin Keegan's club will be asked if an unlicensed agent - Steve Kutner - was involved in the deal.
The FA wrote to both clubs yesterday as part of their crackdown on moves involving agents who have not paid their pounds 100,000 bond to Fifa, world football's governing body.
The Blackburn manager, Ray Harford, is to hold more talks with the Aston Villa midfield player, Graham Fenton, after a possible pounds 1.5m deal was held up yesterday.
Injuries could deprive the Republic of Ireland of two key midfield players, Steve Staunton and John Sheridan, for their crucial European Championship qualifier in Portugal on 15 November. Aston Villa's Staunton is unlikely to be fit for another two weeks after injuring a hamstring while Sheffield Wednesday's Sheridan had an operation on an injured knee yesterday.
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