Football: Newcastle reject Leeds' bid for Batty

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The Independent Online
DAVID O'LEARY has failed in his first foray into the transfer market yesterday when the new Leeds United manager's pounds 4m bid to bring David Batty back from Newcastle United was rejected.

Batty is one of a handful of Newcastle players who are unavailable despite the recent announcement from O'Leary's counterpart at St James' Park, Ruud Gullit, that he will be making alterations to his squad.

The combative ball-winner is still a key part of Gullit's first-choice line-up, and while he may not be suited to the more expansive style which Gullit is supposed to be working towards, he is clearly regarded by the Dutchman as too important to lose.

O'Leary wants to buy British but is finding few options on the market for the type of sitting midfielder he wants. He is also keen to sign the striker, Ashley Ward, from Barnsley, who was watched by Leeds' scout, Allan Hill, at the Wolves game last Saturday.

One player who Gullit is selling is the Icelandic striker Bjarni Gudjonsson, to the Belgian side Genk for a knockdown pounds 150,000.

Newcastle are to appeal against Stuart Pearce's ban after he was dismissed during the 3-0 home defeat by West Ham on Saturday after a robust challenge on Trevor Sinclair.

Alan Sugar, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, is hoping to receive the go-ahead from the City to strengthen his stake in the club. Tottenham made a statement to the Stock Exchange yesterday saying that Sugar will be asking for approval at the AGM on 25 November to buy back shares in the company. He would, as happens in many listed companies, buy back shares then cancel them, increasing the value of the remaining stock.

The referee Rob Styles could face legal action if he does not reconsider his decision to send off Birmingham striker Peter Ndlovu against Huddersfield last weekend. Birmingham's co-owner, David Sullivan, has threatened to issue a writ against Styles and the Football Association after Ndlovu was sent off for diving twice.

Everton are to study police videos to try to identify the "morons" they believe launched a plastic bottle attack on the Manchester United goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, on Saturday. The club say they will prosecute fans who attacked the Dane .

The FA are waiting for a report on the incident from the referee Peter Jones, which seems certain to result in the club being charged with failing to control their fans.

Crystal Palace are poised to strengthen their Chinese connection by signing striker Hao Haidong. Hao, who led the Chinese league with 18 goals this season for the champions, Dalian, will join his former team-mate Sun Jihai and Shanghai's Fan Zhiyi at Selhurst Park.

Jamaica's World Cup captain, Ian Goodison, has arrived in England for a week's trial with Huddersfield. The powerful left-sided centre-half will make his debut for Huddersfield's reserves against Blackpool tomorrow.

Preston are the latest club to be hanging on Dion Dublin. North End's manager, Davie Moyes, hopes to sign Aston Villa's striker Darren Byfield in a pounds 300,000 deal, but Villa will not let him leave until they are sure they have Dublin's signature.

Aberdeen have placed Craig Hignett, the former Middlesbrough midfielder, on the transfer list. Hignett has grown weary of the round-trips to see his two children in Warrington in recent weeks after a marriage break- up. The club reluctantly agreed to listen to offers for the player after rejecting a pounds 250,000 bid from Manchester City last week.

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