Football: Juninho likely to prefer Atletico

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The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur have made a late attempt to keep Juninho in the Premiership by making an pounds 11m bid for Middlesbrough's Brazilian international. However, the signs are that the fleet-footed forward will still end up in Spain with Atletico Madrid.

Tottenham's bid has been accepted by Middlesbrough - but the Spanish sports newspaper Marca reported that Atletico, who had a pounds 7.5m offer termed "derisory" by the Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, have now had a deal that would cost them pounds 14.5m, including wages, accepted by the Riverside Stadium club - who are expecting Juninho to return from Brazil for pre-season training tomorrow.

"It's obviously up to Juninho to meet up with Tottenham and see if he can agree personal terms with them," a Boro spokesman said. "There were other clubs interested - but Tottenham were the ones who have put in a bid that we have accepted."

However, Miguel Angel Gil, Atletico's general director, said: "Right now there is only a verbal agreement with the player, but this morning I spoke with Middlesbrough and everything is proceeding as planned."

Juninho wants to move to Spain because he believes it would increase his chances of a return to the Brazilian team. "If you play for a small club in Europe, particularly England, few people will see you play," he has said. "Spanish football is shown non-stop on TV in Brazil."

It was reported last night that Middlesbrough had agreed to sign Leeds United's former England left-back, Tony Dorigo. Tomas Brolin, out of favour at Leeds, yesterday denied reports linking him with a pounds 2m move to the French champions, Monaco.

Manchester United's Czech international, Karel Poborsky, has had his work permit renewed by the Home Office - despite the fact that he did not appear in the required minimum 75 per cent of first-team games last season.

The Barnet manager, Terry Bullivant, has moved to Reading as their new manager, and has taken Alan Pardew with him as reserve- team coach. Lincoln City's assistant manager, John Still, has been named as Bullivant's replacement at Barnet.

Norwich City have signed the out-of-contract Oldham Athletic captain, Craig Fleming, in a pounds 600,000 deal.

Brighton and Hove Albion are unhappy at their treatment from the Football League, which has called a meeting for 24 July to decide whether the Sussex club should be expelled after failing to pay a pounds 500,000 security bond by an agreed deadline last month.

"When we got the original wording [of the bond], it was unacceptable to us," a Brighton director, Martin Perry, said. "We could have lost the pounds 500,000 if a game had been abandoned due to circumstances outside our control, like the weather."