Football: Pearce completes West Ham move

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The Independent Online
West Ham yesterday signed the Blackburn defender Ian Pearce for pounds 2.3m - and his first task will be to mark Newcastle's Champions' League hat-trick hero, Faustino Asprilla.

Newcastle travel to Upton Park tomorrow, when Pearce, 23, will make his debut alongside Rio Ferdinand and David Unsworth. He replaces Marc Rieper, who left West Ham for Celtic for pounds 1.4m a week ago.

"It's a dream to come to a club with such a fine tradition. They have made a good start to the season and should be looking towards a place in Europe," Pearce, a Hammers fan as a boy, said. West Ham have now dropped their interest in Nottingham Forest's Colin Cooper.

Michael Madar left Bolton last night to embark on talks with Tottenham. The Frenchman walked out of a meeting after Wanderers started haggling over terms.

Madar, a free agent, wanted pounds 10,000 a week, a complementary car and a free house, but Bolton refused his demands, so the international striker, who plays for the Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna, travelled to London. Madar is willing to train with Tottenham today.

Everton's young centre-half Richard Dunne could be the unlikely key to a pounds 7m deal for Fabrizio Ravanelli.

Dunne is wanted by Middlesbrough along with Graham Stuart and cash for the unsettled Italian, but Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, is reluctant to lose the youngster.

Everton were given permission to speak to Ravanelli by Middlesbrough yesterday as the First Division club try to speed up the deal, although the striker will have to drop his wage demands to resurrect the move. He has already hinted that he would take a pay cut to go back to Italy - but Milan, who had been linked with a move for the Italian international - were unwilling to pay the transfer fee sought by Bryan Robson's side.

Matt Le Tissier could give Southampton a boost by returning to Premiership action against Liverpool tomorrow.

Le Tissier missed the club's first six games of the new campaign after breaking his arm in pre-season training, but he made a goal-scoring 75- minute appearance for Southampton reserves at Watford on Wednesday and may well be brought on to the bench ahead of schedule.

Leicester City have initiated an investigation after complaints from supporters travelling by coach to their Uefa Cup tie with Atletico Madrid. Seven hundred fans in 14 coaches left Filbert Street for Spain as part of an official club party, but the 36-hour journey was described as "hell on wheels". Leicester have arranged a meeting at the ground tomorrow morning for supporters to air their views.

The Celtic and Scotland striker Darren Jackson is due to resume light training on Monday - only three weeks after undergoing an operation to remove excess fluid from his brain.

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