Football: Houllier spreads net far and wide

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The Independent Online
LIVERPOOL HAVE been linked with a top Polish international centre- half on the day that they had two high-quality European defenders training with them for the first time.

Gerard Houllier, the Anfield manager, is also reportedly interested in Richard Dutruel, the French goalkeeper from the Celta Vigo side which dumped his team out of the Uefa Cup last week.

Houllier had a look at the Dynamo Kiev centre-half Olexandr Holovko and the Cameroon stopper Rigobert Song, who plays for Salernitana in Italy, at Liverpool's Mellwood training ground yesterday, along with Tony Silva, a 23-year-old goalkeeper from Monaco.

It was also being claimed that Liverpool had made a pounds 2.75m bid for the Polish international defender Tomasz Lapinksi, of Widzew Lodz. The 29 year-old, who has 24 caps for his country, is also a target for Roma and Hamburg.

The Anfield side also hope to complete the free transfer signing of the veteran German international defender, Thomas Helmer, from Bayern Munich later this week.

Another Dynamo Kiev defender, Oleh Luzhni, is reportedly joining the Portuguese club Benfica, who are coached by the former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness. The Lisbon side have apparently beaten rival bids for the 30-year-old from three English Premiership clubs.

The Nottingham Forest manager, Dave Bassett, is playing down suggestions that his unsettled Dutch striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk, is poised for a pounds 5m move to the Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

"There's been no interest in Pierre from Atletico Madrid, or any other club for that matter," Bassett said yesterday.

Tony Thomas is set to leave Everton and become the fourth former Tranmere Rovers player at Motherwell - following Pat Nevin, Shaun Teale and Ged Brannan to the Scottish Premier League club.

Thomas failed to agree terms with the Fir Park club when they originally tried to buy the 27-year-old defender 10 days ago, but the Goodison Park manager, Walter Smith, yesterday claimed a pounds 150,000 deal is now "imminent".

The former Walsall manager, Jan Sorensen, is set for a return to English football with Hartlepool United.

Sorensen, a former Ajax and Denmark playmaker, is being lined up by the Third Division club's owners, Increased Oil Recovery Ltd, to take on the role of chief executive.

Chris Waddle has joined the coaching staff at Sheffield Wednesday. The former Owls and England forward, who was training at Hillsborough while he was playing for Torquay United earlier this season, has accepted a permanent role as part of Danny Wilson's backroom team.

The Premier League is set to employ respected former referees and linesmen in a quest to maintain consistency among match officials.

The Premier League referees' officer, Philip Don, has asked six former colleagues to act as experienced guides for the current top-flight officials.

The Football League is "seriously considering" the introduction of wage- capping at Third Division clubs as part of a range of measures designed to keep teams afloat - as reported in the Independent a fotnight ago.

The Leyton Orient chairman, Barry Hearn, has been given the task of investigating the proposal. The League chairman, Peter Middleton, said: "In the next three months, we will look at getting some data from clubs and then we will be in a better position to talk details about wage-capping."