Football: Keegan's millions to spend

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The Independent Online
KEVIN KEEGAN, the Newcastle United manager, said yesterday that he had at least pounds 3.5m to spend on a new striker, fuelling speculation that he would renew his pursuit of Les Ferdinand, QPR's England international.

Newcastle, whose fans are normally used to players leaving rather than arriving for such astronomical sums, are nearly pounds 6m in debt but Keegan, who has already offered pounds 3.3m for Ferdinand, said it was 'inevitable' the club would make a substantial signing soon. 'If you are asking if pounds 3.5m is there, I would say yes it would be made available,' Keegan said.

'I am not talking about a kid of 19 or 20, but if you are on about the best like Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, it will be there. I am not saying it is going to happen this week or in two weeks, but it will happen. It is inevitable.'

Phil Thompson, a former Liverpool team-mate of Keegan's, is to receive a pounds 28,000 pay-off from the Anfield club following his dismissal as coach. In return Thompson has agreed to drop his claim of unfair dismissal and not discuss the episode.

Ian Brightwell, the Manchester City defender, is expected to miss the rest of the season following knee surgery yesterday. City's player-manager Peter Reid called the operation 'a complete success' but added: 'I doubt whether we will see him again this season.' Reid is to spend pounds 500,000 on Kare Ingebrigsten, Rosenborg's Norwegian international, who has impressed while on trial. City hope to secure him a work permit shortly.

Bristol Rovers yesterday paid QPR pounds 275,000 for their 24-year-old utility player, Justin Channing.

Celtic last night upset their partners in the proposed Scottish Super League by withdrawing their support for the new venture. Instead, the Parkhead board announced it will vote in favour of a Scottish League plan for three divisions of 14, 12 and 12.

COCA-COLA CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW: Blackburn v Ipswich or Sheffield Wednesday; Crystal Palace v Arsenal or Nottingham Forest. First leg week of 7 February; second leg week of 8 March.