Football: Signori blow for West Ham

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The Independent Online
The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, has pulled out of an ambitious bid to sign Lazio's Guiseppe Signori on loan - because the player's wage demands were too high.

Redknapp had hoped to land the Italian international striker, 31, on loan until the end of the season, but his personal terms and a loan fee of pounds 200,000 scuppered the deal.

Signori is believed to have wanted about pounds 800,000 to spend the rest of the season at Upton Park, and Redknapp admitted that was too big a price to pay. However, he added: "He would have been a fantastic player for the club, there's no doubt about that."

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, will travel to Santiago to watch Chile's centre-forward in action against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday. The 22-year-old has reportedly been priced at pounds 12m by his Argentinian club, River Plate, but Ferguson said: "The fee for Salas is not something that concerns me at this moment. He is still a young player with many good years ahead of him. I am going out there with an open mind, simply to have a look at him for myself in action."

United were relieved to hear yesterday that Gary Pallister, their England centre-half, may be back in action soon. A scan on the back injury that caused him to withdraw from the England squad to face Cameroon tomorrow showed no serious damage.

The Sunderland striker Craig Russell will complete a transfer to Manchester City if he passes a medical this morning. The wing-back Nicky Summerbee will move in the opposite direction - both players are valued at pounds 1m.

Ipswich Town have paid pounds 800,000 for the Bury striker David Johnson. The centre-back Chris Swailes, valued at pounds 200,000, has moved to Gigg Lane as part of the deal.

Blackburn Rovers are chasing Oldham Athletic's England Under-21 left- back, Carl Serrant, who was a target for Southampton last season.

Middlesbrough are hoping to sign the Manchester United winger Ben Thornley, who is also wanted by Huddersfield, for around pounds 750,000.

Premier League clubs can expect to receive pounds 100m from a three-year deal to screen matches overseas which was given the approval of club chairmen in London yesterday.

The deal has not yet been signed but a contract is likely to be finalised in the near future. The current deal, which was agreed in 1992, is worth just pounds 9m per year. Yesterday's meeting approved a bid from Mark McCormack's TWI Group and the French television company, Canal Plus, in preference to a bid from CSI, the sports marketing company which currently holds the contract.

The new deal is in addition to the pounds 740m television contract that the Premier League has signed until 2001 with BSkyB and the BBC for the rights to televise Premiership matches in this country.

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