Football: Hoddle to release Townsend

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The Independent Online
ANDY TOWNSEND looks set to leave Stamford Bridge in the next few days in Glenn Hoddle's first significant transfer deal since taking over as manager of Chelsea recently, writes Clive White. Aston Villa and Manchester City, it is believed, are both prepared to pay pounds 1.7m for the Republic of Ireland international.

Villa, whose lack of an authoritative central midfield player became evident during the championship run-in, are favourites to agree terms with the player.

It is a decision that will not immediately endear Hoddle to Chelsea fans. His former colleague, Ossie Ardiles, also found himself the object of scorn yesterday when West Bromwich Albion announced that they are to sue him for walking out on the club earlier this month to take over at Tottenham.

The troubled north London club have also received a transfer request from David Howells to go with those of Neil Ruddock and Vinny Samways.

Following reports that Peter Ndlovu wanted to leave Coventry, Bobby Gould, the manager, has faxed the player in Zimbabwe, informing him that he would not be released this year for any further internationals after this weekend's game. He has already been released for seven games, the figure stipulated under Fifa rules.

The eight Barnet players who are seeking free transfers have been asked to reconsider by Stephen Glynne, who is assembling a new group of backers.

Dave Bassett will recommend to the Sheffield United board that Brian Deane be told to honour the remaining year of his contract. Wolves have agreed a pounds 600,000 fee with West Ham for Kevin Keen.

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