Football: Tottenham face competition for Bridges

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The Independent Online
THE CHASE for the Sunderland striker Michael Bridges has turned into a three-horse race, despite the Wearside club agreeing a fee with Tottenham.

The England Under-21 international was having talks at White Hart Lane yesterday, but both Leeds and Aston Villa are prepared to match the pounds 4m fee that Spurs have offered Sunderland.

A Leeds spokesman said: "We are surprised at developments, given that we are willing to match any bid Spurs have made." Villa are also waiting in the wings, while Southampton's bid for the 20-year-old has been rejected.

Tottenham confirmed yesterday that they had agreed a fee of around pounds 4m with Sunderland. "The clubs are happy and now it's all down to the player to agree terms," a Spurs spokesman said.

The Israeli midfielder Eyal Berkovic completed his pounds 5.75m move from West Ham to Celtic yesterday. "I'm desperate to walk inside Parkhead and call myself a Celtic man," he said.

Southampton have agreed a deal to sign the Sporting Lisbon right-back Bruno Leal, the brother of Arsenal's Luis Boa Morte. The former Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla has left Parma for Brazil's Palmeiras. The Colombian failed to hold down a first-team place at the Italian side last season.

A consortium of Crystal Palace directors is preparing a bid to take control of the First Division club in a move that might pave the way for the former owner Ron Noades to return. The plan would see the removal of the chairman, Mark Goldberg, who bought the club for pounds 23m a year ago from Noades and has since led the club into administration with debts estimated at pounds 22m.

Everton have been fined pounds 50,000 by a Football Association disciplinary commission for failing to improve their misconduct record since the 1997- 98 season.

Delegates from the Asian Football Confederation walked out of the Fifa Congress in Los Angeles yesterday in protest at the number of places allocated to Asia in the 2002 World Cup.

Only four Asian nations will definitely be at the finals: the co-hosts South Korea and Japan plus two qualifiers. A fifth may qualify via a play- off against a European team. The AFC wants three guaranteed places, in addition to the hosts.