Football: Helmer the next target for Liverpool

GERARD HOULLIER, Liverpool's manager, is having talks with Bayern Munich's veteran centre-half, Thomas Helmer, with a view to bringing the player to Merseyside on a free transfer. Helmer is looking for around pounds 1m a year, and the salary and the length of contract may yet cause problems.

Chelsea have offered nearly pounds 2m to Argentina's River Plate for the Spanish international striker Juan Antonio Pizzi. The 30-year-old, who has scored eight goals in 22 appearances for Spain, joined the Buenos Aires club in the summer from Barcelona for pounds 1.2m.

Struggling Oxford United yesterday completed formalities for the sale of their England Under-21 left-back, Simon Marsh, to Birmingham City as they try to stave off their continuing financial crisis.

The eventual fee could hit pounds 400,000, with United receiving an initial payment of pounds 250,000, a further pounds 50,000 after 40 first-team appearances and a further pounds 100,000 if Marsh helps City into the Premiership.

The Rangers chairman, David Murray, said yesterday he hoped to bring the Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper, Stefan Klos, to Glasgow soon. If his club allow his sale before the end of the season, Rangers will pay a fee. Otherwise he will be a free agent in the summer.

Nigel Martyn and Lucas Radebe yesterday both agreed to extend their contracts with Leeds United by two years.

Jesper Mattsson, from Sweden's Halmstad, has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Nottingham Forest. The 30-year-old central defender has been capped once for Sweden.

Sheffield United have said they will resist any approach from Manchester United for their manager Steve Bruce,who has been linked with a return to Old Trafford to take over as Alex Ferguson's No 2 following Brian Kidd's move to Blackburn Rovers.

"There has been absolutely no approach from Manchester United for Steve and we would not welcome one," Philip Wood, the Blades chief executive, said.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have appointed the former Bristol City manager John Ward as the new assistant manager at Molineux. Ward, who has also had spells in charge of York City and Bristol Rovers, becomes Colin Lee's deputy.

Leicester City have blocked Lee's bid to appoint their veteran midfielder, Garry Parker, as player-coach at Molineux.

Lee was keen to acquire the services of 33-year-old Parker as well as Ward, as the former Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest player has been unable to command a regular first-team place at Filbert Street this season. However, the Foxes manager, Martin O'Neill, has hinted that Parker could eventually join the back-room staff at Leicester.

"The short answer is that Parker is going nowhere," O'Neill said. "Garry knows he is coming towards the end of his playing career, and he does have an eye for eventually going into coaching.

"But there may be a chance he can get that opportunity with Leicester rather than having to look elsewhere."

Ipswich Town are giving Marseilles' French Under-21 international right- back Hamada Jambay a one-week trial.

Celtic's Danish international centre-half Marc Rieper will resume full training today, after nearly two months on the sidelines following an operation on a troublesome ankle problem.

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