Football: Holdsworth asks for a transfer: Wimbledon setback

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The Independent Online
THE break-up of Wimbledon, suggested by the sale of John Fashanu and John Scales, threatened to gather pace yesterday when their most precious attacking asset, Dean Holdsworth, asked for a transfer.

The England B striker, whose price would be between pounds 3.5m and pounds 5m, made his request in a fit of disillusionment provoked by recent departures from a club that has defied the normal downward pull on the poor by reaching sixth in the Premiership last season. 'I was really looking forward to the season,' Holdsworth, who signed an extension to his contract in the summer, said, 'particularly after the club had said they wouldn't be selling anyone. But after the sale of Fash and John Scales I had to have a rethink. . . It's a short career and I want to achieve as much as I can.'

It is a serious setback for his manager, Joe Kinnear, who yesterday signed the 27- year-old Rochdale defender Alan Reeves for pounds 300,000. Kinnear had to sell Scales to Liverpool for pounds 3.5m last week and Wimbledon have two points out of 12 this season. They have lost their last two matches in the absence of the injured Holdsworth, 25, who cost pounds 720,000 from Brentford two years ago.

Manchester United have first option on him but the champions' reluctance to pay pounds 5m allowed Chris Sutton to go to Blackburn, and they may also balk at another astronomical asking price. Everton are sure to be interested, however, having twice had offers for Holdsworth turned down.

Basile Boli, meanwhile, must wait until Thursday to learn his fate after criticising his club Rangers in a French magazine. He was summoned to Glasgow from a business trip in France and, after meeting his manager, Walter Smith, yesterday, was ordered to return in two days' time to have further talks. Boli, signed for pounds 2.7m from Marseille this summer, criticised Smith's tactics for the European Cup second leg against AEK Athens in Glasgow 10 days ago, which Rangers lost 1-0 to go out 3-0 on aggregate.

Ronnie Whelan, the former Liverpool midfielder, has signed on a month's trial for Southend - and he could be joined by the West Ham striker Lee Chapman, with the full-back Chris Powell moving to Upton Park in exchange. Whelan, 33 later this month, will make his debut at Stoke on Saturday.