Football: Swede is new target for Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers are looking to sign Swedish striker Pascal Simpson to help their title ambitions. Roy Hodgson, the Blackburn manager, has agreed a pounds 1.5m deal with AIK Stockholm for the powerful 6ft 3in striker, who is due at Ewood Park for talks in the next few days.

Hodgson wants more cover up front to prevent Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher, who yesterday signed an extension to his contract, being relied on too heavily. Martin Dahlin has been struggling with a back injury and the pace of the English game and that has left Sutton and Gallacher being forced to play despite carrying slight injuries.

Liverpool's work permit application for the United States international goalkeeper Brad Friedel is set to go through in the next 48 hours, although he may not receive clearance in time to play against Arsenal at Highbury on Sunday.

Emmanuel Petit, the Arsenal midfielder, will be playing on Sunday, despite yesterday receiving a pounds 1,000 fine and a further one-match ban for laying his hands on the referee Paul Durkin: his suspension will not come into force until 15 December.

Southampton have made a bid for midfielder Bjorn Johansen of Norwegian side Tromso, after he impressed during training with the club.

Paul Bosvelt, of Feyenoord, has written to Denis Irwin to apologise for the tackle which caused serious knee ligament damage to the Manchester United player during United's 3-1 Champions' League victory in Rotterdam earlier this month.

A Feyenoord spokesman said: "Paul sent a letter of apology a few days ago because he is truly sorry for what happened. It's a great pity because it was totally out of character for him. We don't expect anything more to happen because Uefa [European football's governing body] have said they don't use television evidence so now we must forget it and move on."

Valencia have put their troubled striker Romario up for sale after the Brazilian was dropped last week after saying he wanted to go home to guarantee himself a place in the Brazilian World Cup squad.

"He isn't going to play any more for Valencia," Claudio Ranieri, the Valencia coach, said. "Now it is the club president who has to decide what to do with the player."

Romario joined Valencia last season, but moved on loan to Flamengo after clashing with the then coach, Luis Aragones. He has only played six games since returning to Spain this season because of injury.

Romario cost the Spanish club around 600 million pesetas (pounds 2.5m), but his earnings may deter potential suitors, as they are in the region of over 400 million pesetas (pounds 1.6m) a year.

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