With the transfer deadline a week away business is expected to quicken, with Chelsea the centre of interest. The new manager, David Webb, is apparently trying to build funds for a major reconstruction of the team for next season. Manchester United, with pounds 5m to spend, are known to be still interested in Andy Townsend. Blackburn, wih unlimited funds, have shown interest in Graeme Le Saux, to strengthen their left flank. Harford's departure may be the first of several. Aston Villa's interest in Harford, and their enquiry for John Barnes, means they are probing.
Barnes, 30 in November, can still command a big fee but his contract does expire this season. Liverpool have made pounds 1m-plus available to Graeme Souness, who might be keen to amass sufficient resources to make a powerful entry this summer in the old Liverpool style now that the club are all but out of danger. Forty thousand seats have to be sold.
The news that Portsmouth have signed the Bristol Rovers striker, John Taylor, 28, for pounds 300,000 will increase speculation about the future of Guy Whittingham, also 28, but now a six-figure property.
Birmingham City's manager, Terry Cooper, made short work of the pounds 500,000 made available for reinforcing the lowly First Division's team by the club's new owner, the soft-porn publisher, David Sullivan.
Cooper agreed fees for that useful utility player George Parris, 29, from West Ham for pounds 200,000; the striker Paul Moulden, 25, from Oldham Athletic, for pounds 150,000; and for the Exeter defender Scott Hiley, 24, for pounds 150,000. He also exchanged striker David Rennie, 29, formerly of Leeds and Leicester, for Coventry's former England Under-21 winger, David Smith, now 24.
Tranmere agreed the signing of the Celtic striker, Tommy Coyne, 30, for pounds 400,000, and are to take midfielder Mark Proctor, 32, on loan from Middlesbrough.