Football: Olsen switch held up after pounds 2m claim

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The Independent Online
EGIL OLSEN, who Wimbledon want to replace Joe Kinnear as manager, was waiting in the wings yesterday as his present side, Valerenga, held out for pounds 2m compensation.

Wimbledon's plan is for Kinnear to stay at the club in an "upstairs" capacity until an offer from a bigger club arrives. But they may be forced to rethink after a disagreement over the money they should pay the Oslo club to release the 57-year-old from his three-year contract.

As uncertainty shrouded the issue yesterday, Kinnear and John Barnes were both linked with the coach's job at Celtic.

While Barnes is thought by many to be the man Kenny Dalglish wants to run the team should he be installed as technical director by the Parkhead club at the beginning of next month, Kinnear emerged yesterday as a candidate. He is a close friend of the Irish millionaire Dermot Desmond, who is in the process of buying the club from Fergus McCann.

Dalglish, for his part, has long been touted as the front-runner for the new post which has been created by the chief executive Allan MacDonald as he attempts to follow the European model to success.

But, while Dalglish's links to Celtic and his managerial attributes are well known, the arrival of Barnes would be something of a gamble. The 35-year-old has had many successes on the pitch but his credentials are unknown off it. He has been keeping himself busy with media work since announcing his retirement as a player following a short spell at Charlton. He has worked with Dalglish both at Liverpool and Newcastle, and the pair have forged a close relationship.

The future of the present coach, Dr Josef Venglos, is unclear after a hugely disappointing season in which Celtic failed to prevent Rangers winning the domestic treble.

Wimbledon may not just be losing the services of Kinnear, however, with Liverpool and Tottenham both preparing to raid Selhurst Park.

The defender Chris Perry - rated at pounds 5.5m - is a target for Spurs, who see the 26-year-old as a partner for Sol Campbell, while Liverpool have their eyes on the goalkeeper Neil Sullivan. Tottenham are also interested in the midfielder Oyvind Leonhardsen, for whom their original offer was turned down.

The Coventry City chairman Bryan Richardson has put a pounds 5m price tag on the midfielder George Boateng, who is a target for Aston Villa and Liverpool. Richardson is resigned to losing the services of the former Dutch Under- 21 captain, who cost the club pounds 250,000 from Feyenoord during the 1997- 98 season.

Sheffield Wednesday's manager Danny Wilson says he is prepared to release pounds 10m worth of players as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the struggling Premiership side.

"I'm fed up of this club having to struggle to stay in the Premiership every season," he said. "It's about time we were challenging for things at the other end of the table and it's time to be a bit ruthless."

Kevin Keegan is to take the national side back to his managerial roots in the north-east for the first friendly international of next season - at Sunderland's Stadium of Light. With Wembley unavailable because of a pop concert taking place at the stadium, Wearside will host the match on Sunday 10 October against Belgium, who are jointly hosting the Euro 2000 finals with the Netherlands.

It will be the first friendly played away from Wembley since England's 2-1 win against South Africa at Old Trafford on 24 May 1997, the day that the Third Division play-off final was being contested at the national stadium between Northampton and Swansea.

Another jewel in the BBC's crown lost its lustre yesterday with the news that the Corporation is to share radio rights to England's home games and FA Cup ties for the first time with another national broadcaster.

Under a deal concluded with the Football Association, Radio 5 Live and Talk Radio will simultaneously broadcast matches for the next three years.

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