Football: Redknapp goes in search of Xavier

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The Independent Online
HARRY REDKNAPP is ready to sign Portuguese centre-half Abel Xavier and Bulgarian right-back Radostin Kishishev.

The West Ham manager is close to agreeing a price with PSV Eindhoven for the experienced Xavier, who is valued at pounds 2m. The 26-year-old was outstanding in a friendly for West Ham last week and could be the answer to their defensive crisis.

Xavier started his career at Benfica and has played in Italy for Bari. He was born in Mozambique but has an EC passport. He can play anywhere at the back and would be a bargain signing.

Redknapp is also talking to Kishishev, who will cost pounds 1m. He has stepped in ahead of Charlton, who hoped to have the defender on trial with them this week. Kishishev plays for Bulgurian champions Liteks and has enough caps to secure a work permit.

The Hammers also hope to hear today that Javier Margas has had his work permit renewed. The club has asked the Department of Education and Employment to treat the Chilean defender as an "urgent" case.

Aston Villa are to make an offer for Sheffield Wednesday striker Benito Carbone after failing to land Robbie Keane.

The Villa manager, John Gregory, called off his chase for the Republic of Ireland international when Wolves refused to back down from their pounds 6m asking price. With a pounds 5.5m offer having been withdrawn that money could now be used to take Carbone to Villa Park instead.

Gregory was at Valley Parade on Saturday to run the rule over Carbone, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, for the 1-1 draw with Bradford.

Middlesbrough have opened talks to sign Boca Juniors teenager Claudio Marinelli. The Teessiders are confident of finalising a deal for the 17- year-old striker, who starred for Argentina's Under-18s in the Toulon tournament this summer.

In Sofia, Hristo Stoichkov is in hospital after he accidentally touched a live wire. Stoichkov was showing friends his new house in the fashionable Boyana district of the Bulgarian capital when the accident occurred. His wristwatch took most of the impact of the electric shock.