Football: Helder's Highbury move is on hold

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The Independent Online
Arsenal's attempt to sign the Dutch winger, Glenn Helder, in time for tomorrow's game with Leicester foundered last night. After talks with the player in London, George Graham, the Arsenal manager, was forced to admit: "There are one or two stumbl ing blocks to be overcome."

That came as a surprise to Helder's club, Vitesse Arnhem, who are believed to have accepted Graham's £2.3m offer. Their coach, Herbert Neumann, said: "Helder has gone. I don't think he will be playing for us again." The problem seems certain to be Helder's personal demands. The 26-year-old has a clause in his contract with Vitesse allowing him to leave at the end of next season for a cut-price £350,000, which would enable him to negotiate a lucrative signing-on fee with any would-be buyers. Newcastle have also been weighing up an offer.

Graham added: "He is a player I like very much, a fast, skilful winger, but there are a few problems to be ironed out before we can complete a deal."

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, yesterday blamed a breakdown in communication for the non- appearance of Eric Cantona at a London police station on Wednesday. Officers wanted to interview the French striker about his attack on a Crystal Palace supporter at Selhurst Park, but although his team-mate, Paul Ince, turned up to answer questions about an alleged assault on another fan, Cantona failed to show.

Ferguson said that Cantona was on holiday in Antigua and that police were told last week that he would not be in the country. "Eric has not run away or disappeared," he added. "There was certainly no date arranged for him to report for interviews before he left."

United are resigned to losing Ryan Giggs for the Manchester derby at Maine Road tomorrow. The Welsh winger resumed light training yesterday, but his knee, injured against Aston Villa last Saturday, is still painful.

A knee injury will also force out the City goalkeeper, Tony Coton. It swelled alarmingly during the Premiership match against Southampton, and even though fluid was drained over the weekend, he will not play.

The Tottenham striker, Jurgen Klinsmann, could become the new captain of Germany following an injury to Lothar Matthaus. Klinsmann and Jurgen Kohler are the main candidates to take over from Matthaus, who has ruptured his Achilles tendon.

The Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, has hit out at his Leicester successor, Mark McGhee, following the collapse of Garry Parker's move to Filbert Street. Parker settled personal terms, but then Little claimed McGhee demanded new terms for the transferafter a deal - thought to be £600,000 - had been agreed.

Birmingham are interested in the Coventry striker, Mick Quinn, who is available on a free transfer, while Crystal Palace have signed the 17-year-old midfielder, Bjorn Enqvist, from the Swedish club, Malmo.

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