Football: Roa is pounds 6m target for United

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED are to make a pounds 6m move to sign the Argentinian international goalkeeper, Carlos Roa, to fill Peter Schmeichel's gloves.

The form of the 28-year-old Roa has been one of the principal factors behind Real Mallorca's unexpected challenge for the Spanish title. Alex Ferguson, the United manager, was impressed with Roa in the World Cup finals, when he became a national hero for saving David Batty's penalty and putting England out of the competition. Scouts from Old Trafford have been regular visitors to Mallorca's matches for the past couple of months.

Ron Atkinson's pounds 1m bid for Carlton Palmer is in doubt because of a wages wrangle. The Southampton midfielder had been lined up as the new Nottingham Forest manager's first signing, but the former England player and the City Ground club have so far been unable to agree terms.

"I'm certainly not holding them to ransom," said Palmer, who was not picked by the Saints for last night's FA Cup replay at Fulham.

Juninho has ruled out the possibility of an immediate move to Aston Villa. The Brazilian international has been linked with a pounds 12m move back to England, with Villa Park rated as the likely destination. However, the former Middlesbrough man has decided to try to establish himself in Spain, even though his career has not flourished since his move to Atletico Madrid in July 1997.

"It is very difficult when you are not in the team," Juninho said. "But I would prefer to fight and work and get back into the team and be a success in Spain rather than look for a move elsewhere."

The Aston Villa full-back, Gary Charles, could be poised to join Benfica in a pounds 1.5m deal. Villa have agreed a fee with the Portuguese side, and Charles will fly to Lisbon today to have talks with club officials.

Benfica, who are coached by the former Rangers and Liverpool manager Graeme Souness, have raised funds to buy Charles by selling the former Chelsea and Charlton full-back, Scott Minto, to West Ham for pounds 1m. The Lisbon club are in financial difficulties and have struggled to find the money to pay for recent signings.

Coventry have signed the Bosnian international centre-back Muhamed Konjic from the French club, Monaco, for pounds 2m. The 28-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half year contract at Highfield Road.

Leeds have taken the Slovenian defender Aleksander Knavs on a week's trial from the Austrian club, Tirol Innsbruck. However, the 6ft 3in 23- year-old may have played insufficient internationals for his country to earn a work permit.

Wolves have completed the signing of the Norwegian World Cup striker Haavard Flo from the German Bundesliga club, Werder Bremen, for around pounds 750,000.

The Everton manager, Walter Smith, is offering Graham Stuart a chance to return to Goodison Park. Smith is trying to sign the Sheffield United forward in exchange for the centre-back Craig Short, who is a surplus to requirements.

Rangers will play a practice match against the United States national team at their winter training camp in Orlando, Florida, today.

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