Football: Juninho poised for move to Villa

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JUNINHO LOOKED to set to join Aston Villa last night after he flew to Birmingham for talks with John Gregory at Villa Park.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder and his representative, Gianni Paladini, discussed a pounds 10m transfer and a five-year deal worth pounds 3.5m a year with the Villa manager and the only remaining stumbling block after the Brazilian midfielder slipped out of the ground through a side door was whether Villa would pay Juninho the pounds 2m loyalty bonus he had expected from Atletico, where he was on a five-year contract.

Despite suggestions from Juninho's father that Middlesbrough were the favourites to re-sign the player who helped Boro to reach two cup finals in 1997, the player himself was quoted last night as having opted for Villa after both Pele and the Brazilian international Roberto Carlos advised him that would be the right move. He did, apparently, cover himself against the Villa deal falling through by praising his treatment from Boro while there.

Brian Kidd last night completed the signing of Liverpool's Jason McAteer for pounds 4m. The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international should make his debut at home to Tottenham on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood, the club's captain, could be the first player to leave under the new manager's regime. The midfielder rejected the club's final contract offer at a meeting last night, and Rovers officials are adamant that they will not make another offer.

"He wants improved terms, even though our offer is a clear improvement on his existing contract," said Blackburn's chief executive, John Williams. "It's most disappointing, but we cannot go any further with our offer."

Sherwood, 29, has three and a half years to run on his current deal, but Rovers seem to be prepared to let him go if they received a suitable offer.

Last night's football,

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