Football: Muller deal falls flat over pay rise

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The Independent Online
EVERTON'S proposed pounds 2.5m signing of the Brazilian striker, Muller, fell through last night over the player's last- minute demand to be paid pounds 16,500 per week.

The 28-year-old Sao Paulo forward flew into Manchester yesterday morning and spent seven hours in talks with the club. Before the flight, Everton had provisionally agreed a four-year deal with Muller on the basis of pounds 10,000 per week. The player left Goodison Park saying only that he was very tired, but the Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, flanked by manager Mike Walker, emerged moments later to say the deal had collapsed.

'Following a satisfactory medical examination, differences unfortunately arose because of the interpretation of the UK tax regulations,' Johnson said. 'The salary contained in the contract both sides had agreed was before tax, but he wanted that amount after tax. On the basis of the pounds 10,000 per week figure, it would have meant a pre-tax sum of pounds 16,500 per week - two-thirds more than originally agreed.'

Gheorghe Popescu, Tottenham's pounds 2.9m signing from PSV Eindhoven, is still waiting to hear if he can make his debut at Leicester tomorrow.

The Department of Employment say that the Romanian World Cup defender's work permit is 'still under consideration' because the football authorities have not yet provided certain information.

Southampton are on the verge of signing the Barcelona player, Ronnie Ekelund. The 21-year-old Danish striker appeared for Saints during a pre- season tour.

The Hereford United manager, Greg Downs, parted company with the club by mutual consent yesterday after a poor start to the season.

Aberdeen have abandoned their interest in the St Johnstone defender John Ingles after the Perth club rejected an offer of pounds 350,000.