Football: Saunders set to link up with Liverpool old boys

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The Independent Online
Dean Saunders, Aston Villa's leading scorer last season, is today expected to join Galatasaray, the Turkish club for whom Graeme Souness has already signed Saunders' former Liverpool team-mates, Barry Venison and Mike Marsh.

Galatasaray and their Istanbul rivals, Fenerbahce, were both alerted to the fact that the three-year contract Saunders signed last season contains a release clause if an offer comes in from the Continent. Souness will land Saunders for around pounds 1.5m, the 31-year-old Welsh international striker having cost Villa pounds 2.3m three years ago.

Another managerial vacancy was filled yesterday when Alan Smith, sacked by Crystal Palace last month, succeeded Martin O'Neill at Wycombe Wanderers. David Kemp, Smith's assistant at Selhurst Park, also joins the Second Division club, whose chairman Ivor Beeks said: "I think they can take us all the way to the Premiership."

Sheffield Wednesday have rejected Nottingham Forest's pounds 2m offer for the out-of-contract midfielder Chris Bart-Williams, with the deal one of several likely to go to a tribunal. In another, Birmingham have offered pounds 200,000 for Jason Bowen, the Swansea winger, for whom the Welsh club want pounds 750,000.

Birmingham have also offered Andy Saville and Paul Harding in part-exchange for the Plymouth midfielder, Steve Castle. Stoke's Icelandic midfielder, Toddy Orlygsson, unhappy with the terms offered, has spoken to several clubs, including neighbouring Port Vale.

Peter Shilton, who played in Bolton's successful play-off campaign at the age of 45, yesterday made Coventry his ninth club. Garry Pendrey has also joined the Sky Blues as coach.

Meanwhile, Kenny Dalglish has denied that pressure of the kind which forced him to leave Liverpool had prompted him to "move upstairs" at Blackburn. "I simply wasn't prepared to commit myself for seven days a week, which is what's required to manage a club," he said. "In any walk of life people want more leisure time."

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