Football: Liverpool keeping their eyes on Ince

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The Independent Online
Paul Ince, the No 1 transfer target for the new Everton manager, Howard Kendall, may well be heading to Merseyside - but to Liverpool, not Everton.

Ince's move back to England from Internazionale was looking more likely yesterday. The England midfield player is unhappy that the Milan club turned down a pounds 4m offer from Liverpool, but he may get his wish following Inter's agreement with Bayer Leverkusen to buy the Brazilian midfielder Ze Elias for pounds 5m.

Bobby Robson, one of Everton's original managerial targets, has been told by Barcelona he will not continue as coach next season, although he is expected to stay at the club. "They told me 10 days ago," Robson said yesterday.

Bruce Rioch has turned down the chance of succeeding Kendall at Bramall Lane, electing to stay as No 2 to Stewart Houston at QPR. Meanwhile Sheffield United are still demanding pounds 1m compensation following the departure of Kendall, who had signed a new deal in January and had two years to run on his contract.

"We do not know how long this will take but we're determined to press our case to the full," United's chief executive, Charles Green, said. "Howard Kendall may be at Everton today but legally he is still an employee of Sheffield United. We've received no letter of resignation."

With compensation negotiations ongoing, caretaker-manager Nigel Spackman seems destined to shoulder the role of team manager when the players report back for training and possibly into the new season.

Roy Hodgson will make Swedish international Anders Andersson his second signing for Blackburn. The Malmo midfielder follows Patrick Valery, who flew in yesterday to finalise a player-exchange with striker Niklas Gudmundsson, both rated at pounds 1m. Andersson came through the ranks at Malmo under Hodgson a few years ago.

Matt Le Tissier has signed a new four-year contract with Southampton. The deal ties Le Tissier, 28, to The Dell until the end of the 2000/2001 season and ends speculation of a big-money transfer.

The Leicester manager, Martin O'Neill, was bitter yesterday about the departure of Simon Grayson to Aston Villa. The defender turned down a new deal at Filbert Street to join the former Leicester manager Brian Little on a three-year deal.

"We thought we were very close to an agreement," O'Neill said. "This has come out of the blue." Leicester will demand around pounds 1.5m for the 27-year-old.

Newcastle hope to sign the England youth international Danny Murphy in a pounds 2.5m deal in the next 48 hours.

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