Football: Liverpool's Heskey bid

Liverpool's long pursuit of Emile Heskey was rumoured to be nearing fruition last night as the Midlands football grapevine hummed with reports that a pounds 6m deal for the Leicester City forward was under negotiation, writes Glenn Moore.

Liverpool have courted Heskey since he captured attention during Leicester's 1995-96 promotion campaign. With pounds 7m from the sale of Stan Collymore added to their bank balance, they have the funds they need to seal a deal. The only doubt is over whether Heskey, who went to the same school as Gary Lineker and still lives at home, feels ready to leave Leicester. He only signed a new contract last season and Leicester would be loath to lose him, but money, as ever, talks.

Yesterday's rumours coincide with the return from holiday of the Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, and come just before Heskey is due to go to Poland with England Under-21.

Collymore scored a goal on his debut for Aston Villa, a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy in a friendly match on Wednesday.

Sheffield United will be missing Chris Short from their defence for the First Division play-off final against Crystal Palace at Wembley on Monday. He sprained his ankle badly yesterday and has had it heavily strapped. Alan Kelly, the Blades' Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper, also faces a struggle to overcome a knee injury in time.

Sunderland have completed the signing of the Volendam goalkeeper Edwin Zoetebier for a fee of pounds 300,000. The former Dutch Under-21 international has agreed personal terms with the club's manager, Peter Reid, but has returned home to play in his club's last two games of the season.

The Nottingham Forest manager, Dave Bassett, has placed the club's second- choice goalkeeper, Alan Fettis, on the transfer list after holding talks with Kevin Miller, of Watford. Miller, a 27-year-old valued at pounds 1.5m by Watford but out of contract, travelled to the City Ground yesterday to open transfer negotiations.

Everton are expected to announce on Tuesday whether they are to leave Goodison Park after 105 years. A ballot of supporters on plans to move the club to a new 60,000 all-seater stadium in Kirkby, on the outskirts of Liverpool, closed on Wednesday.

Derby have announced that their new home will be called the The Pride Park Stadium.

Steve Bruce has denied reports linking him with the vacant manager's job at Stoke. Bruce, who joined Birmingham from Manchester United last summer, is content to see out his contract with Birmingham. "I have a year left on my contract and I would hope that by the end of it I will have helped the club to get into the Premiership," he said.

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