Football: Saunders may fill Blackburn gap

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The Independent Online
AS BLACKBURN Rovers puruse Dean Saunders to help ease their injury crisis, it emerged yesterday that the former Welsh international can leave Sheffield United on a free transfer because of a special clause in his contract.

The veteran striker is the surprise name on Roy Hodgson's shopping list to replace the injured Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher. There was more bad news for Blackburn yesterday when it was announced that the midfielder Garry Flitcroft is expected to be out for at least a month after undergoing a knee operation.

Gareth Barry's rapid rise to prominence could cost Aston Villa over pounds 1m. The Premiership leaders thought they had a bargain last year when they bought the 17-year-old defender for just pounds 3,200 from Brighton and Hove Albion after he rejected a contract. But a Football League appeals tribunal yesterday ruled that Brighton will also receive pounds 150,000 and further payments based on appearances. The Seagulls have also been awarded 15 per cent of any future transfer profit.

Charlton Athletic have reacted angrily to the Football Association appeals tribunal awarding them a "ridiculous" settlement from Aston Villa for the teenager Jay Lloyd Samuel.

Villa were found guilty of an illegal approach at a previous meeting in Birmingham, but the tribunal board has offered Charlton just pounds 50,000 up front, plus further payments based on a sliding scale of appearances, rising to pounds 100,000 if Samuel plays for England.

Peter Varney, the Charlton managing director, has criticised the board for the decision, which means the south Londoner side will receive only 15 per cent of the first pounds 500,000 in any future transfer deal. "I am appalled and disgusted by the decision," Varney said. "Basically, Villa have robbed us, gaining a player for the ridiculous fee of pounds 50,000."

Southampton's eight-year attempt to gain permission to move to a new pounds 50m community stadium has collapsed after councillors blocked plans for the new sports complex.

The Saints have been trying for permission to build a 25,000 all-seat stadium on a 70-acre site on the outskirts of the city at Stoneham since 1990, and hoped to have the new ground built by the year 2000.

The Premiership strugglers, who are desperate to move away from their current home at The Dell, which holds just 15,000, aimed to help finance the project by building a multiplex cinema and major retail development on the site. Their plans now lie in tatters, however, after members of Eastleigh Borough Council voted against allowing the cinema and retail site to be built.

The Italian striker Michele Padovano has completed his move, for an undisclosed fee, from Crystal Palace to Metz - even though knee ligament trouble suffered during training with the French club last weekend means he is unlikely to play for them this season. Stephane Guivarc'h is ready to leave Newcastle United for the German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in a pounds 3m deal.

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