Football: Juninho ready to leave Boro after FA Cup Final

Juninho's career with Middlesbrough is expected to end following Saturday's FA Cup Final against Chelsea after the mecurial Brazilian said last night that a season in the Nationwide League would harm his international prospects.

After receiving the club's player of the year award, the midfield player said: "I have to do what is best for me. It's important that I play for Brazil and a new player comes through there every month, which makes it difficult for everyone. It would be no good for me to be in the Nationwide League.''

Liverpool hope to sign the Wimbledon midfield player Oyvind Leonhardsen this week with part of the fee from the pounds 7m sale of Stan Collymore.

Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, has made an initial offer of just over pounds 3m for the Norwegian, who has given the Dons notice that he will quit for nothing when his contract expires next summer.

The Wimbledon owner, Sam Hammam, is looking for a price closer to pounds 4.5m for Leonhardsen, but a compromise figure should soon be reached.

Evans is also looking for a new striker and centre-back after this season's disappointments. He has the pounds 7m from Collymore's transfer plus a further pounds 5m to spend.

The Liverpool manager has watched the Polish striker Marek Citko, and he is also considering Derby County's Igor Stimac for his defence.

Aston Villa completed the signing of Collymore yesterday for a club record fee. The deal takes the 26-year-old former Nottingham Forest forward's total transfer fees over the past four years to pounds 17.7m.

Collymore, who cost Liverpool a then British record pounds 8.5m when he moved to Anfield in June 1995, signed a four-year contract with the club he supported as a boy with a further one-year option.

West Ham are resigned to losing Slaven Bilic in a pounds 4.5m move to Everton today but their manager, Harry Redknapp, will use some of the money to offer the Portuguese midfielder Hugo Porfirio a new deal to stay at Upton Park.

Porfirio's nine-month loan spell from Sporting Lisbon expired after the last Premiership game of the season at Manchester United on Sunday. But his contract with Sporting also runs out next month and West Ham's managing director, Peter Storrie, will meet the player and his agent tomorrow to negotiate a permanent free transfer to London.

Bilic, has still not formally announced his departure from West Ham, but is expected to have a medical examination at Everton before completing a move which will make him one of the highest-paid defenders in the Premier League. West Ham will show a huge profit on the deal, having paid just pounds 1.6m to the German club Karlsruhe for Bilic only 18 months ago.

Leeds have completed the pounds 500,000 signing of the Scottish international full-back David Robertson from Rangers. The Italian clubs, Perugia and Torino, were both keen to land the 28-year-old Robertson, whose contract at Ibrox has expired. The Yorkshire club are also close to signing Nottingham Forest's Norwegian midfield player, Alf Inge Haland, for pounds 2m.

Peter Reid has pounds 6m to spend on the transfer market to spearhead Sunderland's promotion challenge back to the Premiership. The club's chief executive, John Fickling, yesterday endorsed Reid's managership.

Alessandro Del Piero and Christian Vieri, two of Juventus's outstanding young players, are up for sale. Umberto Agnelli, the Turin club's owner, said both players may be transferred at the end of the season if the right offers "from Spanish and English clubs" are forthcoming.

More football, page 24

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