Football: Palace likely to miss out on Lombardo

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The Independent Online
Crystal Palace's bold attempt to sign Attilio Lombardo from Juventus looks like ending in failure, but the South Lodon club's manager, Steve Coppell, has not yet given up hope.

"My gut feeling at the moment is that the deal looks like its going to break down," Coppell said on the club's telephone information service. "We are still in discussions although we do seem to be some way off."

Palace, newly promoted to the Premiership, agreed a pounds 2.1m transfer fee with the Italian champions last week, but the player has not agreed personal terms and did not fly to London as expected.

With or without Lombardo on the wing in his team, Coppell is regarded by the bookies as the manager most likely to be sacked next season. He is 5-4 favourite with William Hill to part company with the Eagles before 10 May next year. Arsenal's manager, Arsene Wenger, is reckoned to be the most secure and he is quoted at 16-1.

Birmingham City's manager, Trevor Francis, has switched his search for a striker to Israel's most prolific goal-scorer, Alon Mizrahi, who plays for little known Bnei Yehoda. Francis has asked Mizrahi, the leading scorer in Israeli club football for three of the past five years, to fly in for talks today about a pounds 600,000 move to St Andrew's after the collapse of a couple of earlier bids for forwards.

Birmingham are also releasing their winger Ricky Otto, who cost a then club record of pounds 800,000 two and a half years ago, on a free transfer.

Grimsby, of the Second Division, have agreed a pounds 170,000 fee for Reading's out-of-contract striker Lee Nogan.

Sunderland have lined up a pounds 500,000 deal for former England Under-21 defender Chris Makin. The 24-year-old full-back joined Marseilles a year ago under the Bosman ruling and his previous club, Oldham, would be entitled to compensation.

The transfer tribunal have ruled that Everton must initially pay Aston Villa pounds 700,000 for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 midfielder Gareth Farrelly. The fee could rise to pounds 900,000 according to appearances.

Blackburn's goalkeeper, Tim Flowers, yesterday had the groin operation that will keep him out for the first month of the new season.

Brighton's will learn today if they are to be thrown out of the Football League. Albion face the threat of expulsion at an extraordinary general meeting of Football League chairmen over their failure to lodge a pounds 500,000 bond, requested to secure their status while groundsharing, by a 20 June deadline.

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