Football: Shearer set to sign for Blackburn

Alan Shearer, Southampton's England striker, is expected to sign for Blackburn Rovers today, completing a pounds 3.6m move with the Rovers forward, David Speedie, reluctantly going in the other direction.

Shearer's fee has easily eclipsed the domestic transfer record, set when Liverpool paid pounds 2.9m to Derby County for Dean Saunders. The price is high for a player who has yet to prove himself properly at senior international level and, before last year, had managed only 10 League goals in four seasons.

But the 21-year-old Geordie is clearly the leading English striker of his generation, the natural successor to Gary Lineker after his record-breaking goalscoring feats in an England Under-21 shirt. Eight years younger than Ian Wright, Shearer is also more highly regarded than Sheffield Wednesday's David Hirst in the England camp.

Managers, at club and national level, admire his equable temperament, and given a more supportive midfield than Southampton's, he should feature alongside the likes of Wright at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

Trevor Steven, Shearer's England colleague, has returned to Rangers from Marseille for pounds 2.2m - 11 months after heading to France for pounds 5m. The Scottish and French champions will finalise the deal before a friendly between the two clubs at Ibrox tomorrow.

Another right-sided midfielder, Ray Houghton, Liverpool's 30- year-old Republic of Ireland international, has been bought by Aston Villa for pounds 900,000.

Tony Mowbray, Celtic's pounds 1m signing from Middlesbrough, attracted a crowd of 20,566 for his testimonial at Ayresome Park. At least 10,000 travelled from Glasgow to witness a 1-1 draw, Paul Wilkinson (44 min) putting the hosts ahead before Tommy Coyne (83) equalised with an overhead kick. Middlesbrough fielded Tommy Wright, their pounds 650,000 close-season signing from Leicester City.

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