Football: Speed forces issue by requesting move

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The Independent Online
Everton's troubles took a turn for the worse yesterday when Gary Speed put in a written transfer demand following the club's rejection of three offers from Newcastle for their captain. The Welshman's request is likely to be discussed at the club's board meeting tonight.

The atmosphere between Everton and Speed has been soured by claims - denied by his agent yesterday - that he rejected a new contract that would have almost doubled his wages and he has received hate mail from fans.

There is no obvious happy ending. Newcastle will not be moved from their last offer, worth around pounds 4.5m, while the Everton manager, Howard Kendall, is unlikely to change his pounds 5.5m valuation. By asking for a move, Speed, who is still eligible to play in the FA Cup, will lose loyalty payments on his contract, which still has over two years to run, but he is determined to move as soon as possible.

Everton hope to have the Manchester United defender John O'Kane in their squad at West Ham, having agreed a fee of around pounds 400,000 for him, but the international he was expected to replace, Andy Hinchcliffe may not be going to Sheffield Wednesday after all. The Wednesday manager, Ron Atkinson, was looking to tie up a deal for the England left-back this week after the defender passed a medical, but the two clubs are believed to be almost pounds 1m apart in their valuation.

Wednesday at least made one step forward yesterday when the striker Christian Mayrleb was given international clearance after being signed on loan from FC Tirol until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move.

Nick Barmby will have a chance to recover his place in the England squad before the World Cup. Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, is planning to pick Barmby for the B team game against Chile next month.

Barmby has revived his Everton career in a new role behind the front two of Duncan Ferguson and Mickael Madar, and Hoddle's spies have told him that Barmby is back at his best.

Franz Carr, the former Nottingham Forest, Newcastle and Aston Villa winger has been released by Bolton after a three-month trial. The 31-year-old had previously been with Reggiana in Italy.