Football: Rovers will sell Le Saux for pounds 7.5m

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers have put the 28-year-old, England left-back Graeme Le Saux up for sale for pounds 7.5m, writes Alan Nixon.

Arsenal, Chelsea and the French champions, Monaco, are all in the hunt for Le Saux, who had his written transfer request accepted yesterday. Rovers agreed, albeit reluctantly, to the defender's wishes after several months of listening to his complaints about the club's lack of ambition.

Le Saux, who has personal reasons for wanting to move to London, may find a move to the Gunners especially attractive because of their potential for winning trophies. Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was not keen to bid earlier in the summer, but the sale of Paul Merson to Middlesbrough has boosted his funds by pounds 5m.

The Arsenal left-back, Nigel Winterburn is 33, but Wenger claims to be content with his defence. "We think we have the quality we need," he said. "We're not far away from the start of the competition and we don't want to disturb the team with all these rumours."

Chelsea's manager Ruud Gullit has admitted his interest and his club are prepared to pay a substantial fee, despite letting Le Saux go to Rovers four years ago for pounds 600,000.

The surprise contenders are Monaco, who sold Emmanuel Petit to Arsenal and need a left-back for the Champions' League. However, the French club are unlikely to meet Blackburn's asking price - and Le Saux would also prefer to stay in England. He was left out of Rovers' squad for the friendly at Aberdeen last night in readiness for a move.

The Northern Ireland central defender Pat McGibbon has completed his pounds 250,000 move from Manchester United to Wigan Athletic.

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