Football: Hinchcliffe set to complete move to White Hart Lane

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The Independent Online
The England left-back Andy Hinchcliffe was last night given a pounds 500,000 pay-off from Everton and is expected to join Spurs in a pounds 3.2m deal this week.

Hinchcliffe had insisted that the Goodison club pay a loyalty payment in the five-year contract he signed earlier this season. Had Hinchcliffe not signed the new contract, he would have been entitled to leave on a free transfer in the summer.

He stressed that, having not been asked to leave, he was entitled to the payment. "I have not asked for a transfer. The club have told me I can speak to Spurs and I will be happy to do that," he said. Tottenham expect to sign him in time for a debut against Manchester United on Saturday.

However, Tottenham's manager, Christian Gross, said he had yet to talk to the player and said it was premature to suggest the signing was a formality.

Another unsettled Everton player, Gary Speed, may join Sheffield Wednesday, who offered pounds 5m plus Graham Hyde, as well as doubling Speed's wages. However, the midfielder may yet opt for a move to Newcastle.

Alan Shearer gave a boost to both Newcastle and England supporters by resuming training yesterday. The striker has not played this season after injuring his right ankle in early August.

Although both Shearer and his manager, Kenny Dalglish, have refused to put a date on his likely return to action, he could be back by early February.

Steve Dunn, the referee at Selhurst Park on Sunday for Wimbledon's FA Cup tie at home to Wrexham, will still take charge of the replay a week tonight, despite the controversy surrounding his decision to end the first game just before Wimbledon scored from a corner.

Stevenage Borough plan to double the capacity of their ground in order to keep home advantage for their FA Cup fourth-round tie with Newcastle. The GM Vauxhall Conference club intend to install an extra 6,000 seats for the match, which is scheduled to be televised live by Sky on Sunday 25 January. Before then Sky will televise Port Vale's third-round replay with Arsenal, which has been switched to tomorrow week.

After failing to return on time after his Christmas break in Brazil, Emerson may find himself on a permanent holiday from Middlesbrough. Bryan Robson has fined the midfielder and banned him from training.

Martin O'Neill, the Leicester City manager, has admitted making an approach for the Coventry striker, Dion Dublin, who has also been tracked by Crystal Palace.

Leeds United have agreed to sell the French winger Pierre Laurent back to Bastia for pounds 500,000 - double the fee they paid for him. Meanwhile, the former Leeds striker Tomas Brolin has joined Crystal Palace for a two-week training spell. "I am going to show that I am not a forgotten football player," he said.

Iain Dowie, the Northern Ireland international striker, is set to stay at West Ham, at least for the time being, after rejecting loan moves to Queen's Park Rangers and Fulham.

The French international goalkeeper, Bernard Lama, is about to leave West Ham after only a fortnight to return to France and sign for Rennes. Lama moved to Upton Park on loan from Paris St-Germain on Christmas Eve, but has been unable to displace the Canadian international, Craig Forrest.

Andy Hunt, West Bromwich Albion's leading scorer, may be going to the World Cup finals in France this summer, after contacting the Austrian Football Association, saying he is eligible to play for them because he has an Austrian grandmother.

Ottmar Hitzfeld, who coached Borussia Dortmund to the European Cup last season, is set to replace Bobby Robson as Barcelona's general manager. Hitzfeld, the sporting director at Dortmund, will take over when the former England manager's contract runs out on 1 July.

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