Football: Rioch's pursuit of Elliott held up by Dein's absence

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The Independent Online
Bruce Rioch, the Arsenal manager who has still not agreed a new deal at Highbury, is trying to sign the Newcastle United contract rebel left- back Robbie Elliott in a pounds 1.5m deal.

Rioch has turned to Elliott, who is available following his rejection of Kevin Keegan's terms, after failing to sign either the French international Bixente Lizarazu or the Brazilian Olympic wing-back Roberto Carlos.

Rioch hoped to set up talks with Elliott yesterday, but was held up by Arsenal's complicated transfer system, where the manager cannot negotiate the deal. David Dein, the Arsenal chairman, is believed to be in France and Elliott could not wait for a meeting to be arranged and instead headed for Japan with Newcastle. However, Elliott's colleague, the Belgian international Philippe Albert, has agreed to extend his contract at St James' Park to the year 2000.

Barcelona's Jordi Cruyff flies into Manchester today to become the fifth new face at Old Trafford this summer. The Dutch international will have a medical and then is expected to finally complete his move and a four- year deal.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said: "Jordi is a player who oozes skill and class. He has great balance and close control, he loves to take on defenders and he also packs a powerful shot. He will give me a number of options and will certainly add to the already great competition for places."

Liverpool's attempt to sign the Czech Patrik Berger has had a setback just a day before he was due to fly into Anfield. Berger's club, Borussia Dortmund, put a stop to the move after their new signing, Paulo Sousa from Juventus, surprisingly failed a medical.

Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, hoped to have the midfield player on Merseyside for talks this weekend after finally agreeing a fee with Borussia. However, the German club discovered yesterday that the Portuguese international has a knee injury that has ruined his pounds 3m move.

The Caspian Group's pounds 16m takeover of Leeds United was given the go-ahead by a High Court Judge yesterday. Bill Fotherby, the Leeds chairman, now believes the club, who yesterday completed the signing of goalkeeper Nigel Martyn for pounds 2.25m from Crystal Palace, can give the manager, Howard Wilkinson, more money to strengthen the squad.

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, yesterday led the tributes to the club's former manager Jock Wallace, who died on Wednesday night. Wallace, who was 60, was twice manager of the Ibrox club and led them to two Scottish trebles in 1976 and 1978 in his first spell in charge. "Jock Wallace will be remembered as one of the most successful figures in the club's history," Smith said.

Erik Thorstvedt's move to Wolves from Spurs may be called off because the Norwegian international has a back injury. McGhee has admitted that Thorstvedt, available on a free transfer, revealed the problem during his medical.

McGhee said: "We have already given Erik a medical in Wolverhampton and we were aware that his fitness might be a problem but we didn't get the impression that it could be serious."

Monaco claimed yesterday they did not owe Celtic a transfer fee for the Scotland midfielder John Collins because as a French First Division club they are subject to European Union laws. Celtic believe Monaco, as a team from the non-EU principality, were not covered by the 1995 Bosman verdict.

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