Football: Signori claims pursuit by four English clubs

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The Independent Online
Giuseppe Signori yesterday signalled his willingness to join the Italian expats in England by claiming that four Premiership clubs have made attempts to lure him from Lazio with offers of up to pounds 2m a year.

"Arsenal and Newcastle have made the best offers but I can't deny that Manchester United and Chelsea have also made advances," Signori told the newspaper Corriere dello Sport. "They offered me a contract of five billion lire a year [pounds 2m]. It's a mind-boggling amount."

Arsenal strongly denied any approach. "There is no truth in it," their press officer, Clare Tomlinson, said. "There have been no approaches from us to either the player or Lazio."

Arsene Wenger, the Gunners manager, said wearily: "Every day there is a new name, but all the time it is just speculation."

Signori, who was joint top scorer in Serie A last season with 24 goals, earns pounds 770,000 per year and is tied to Lazio until 2000. "I signed a contract and I want to respect it," he said. "But, if I were to go, it would be a good deal for Lazio."

The last time Lazio tried to sell him - to Parma 18 months ago - thousands of fans protested and the deal was shelved.

West Ham have told the former bookmaker Michael Tabor that his offer of a cash injection is being considered along with "several other options". The Barbados-based millionaire has pounds 30m available but claims that he is being ignored. A statement from Tabor's lawyers said that "West Ham clearly needs immediate cash. Michael Tabor has that and is at a loss to understand why the board continue to ignore him while the club continues its descent into the First Division."

However, Peter Storrie, the West Ham managing director, said: "It is not true that Mr Tabor has been ignored. The board are considering what his representative had to say, along with several other options. These matters take time."

The Hammers are active in the transfer market, having joined the hunt for Stoke's 21-goal striker, Mike Sheron, and sold the defender Kenny Brown to Birmingham for pounds 75,000. Sheron's fate could be settled if Chelsea accept Stoke's pounds 500,000 bid for their striker Mark Stein.

Peterborough United know a benefactor when they see one and yesterday they installed the millionaire Peter Boizot as their new president.

The 67-year-old locally born businessman, once a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral and founder of the Pizza Express chain, said his involvement would "allow everyone to concentrate on the business of winning matches". Food for thought at Upton Park.