Football: Unhappy Sheringham asks for move

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Teddy Sheringham's festering discontent with Tottenham Hotspur has been brought to a head by what he sees as Alan Sugar's peremptory treatment of his contract negotiations, the England striker claimed yesterday.

According to Sheringham, Sugar, the Tottenham chairman, offered him a new deal last month, then withdrew it after 48 hours. Sheringham's subsequent transfer request, which he confirmed yesterday, will spark an intense chase for his services.

Sheringham said that Sugar had made no subsequent attempt to persuade him to see out the remaining two years of his contract. "From what I can make out the chairman has said that I can leave," Sheringham said. "I've had a letter read out to me by his secretary and it says that if the right offer comes along I will be allowed to leave."

Sheringham, who is here with the England squad, claimed he was "left with no alternative". He went on: "I have done what I had to do. I was still thinking about the contract when it was withdrawn. Alan Sugar told me later that was his custom but he did not tell me I had 48 hours at the time. Since it was in the build-up to England's game with South Africa, I would not have thought that was right anyway." Sugar could not be reached yesterday to give his side of the story.

Sheringham admitted that there were "quite a few reasons" for his decision. "I have been thinking about it for a long time. It feels the right time for me to have a new challenge. I have been disappointed that we have not been challenging for honours," added Sheringham who has yet to win a domestic honour.

"That was a big factor in the decision. At the end of a career you want to look back on medals and the memories of how you won them. We have been close with Tottenham, but that is not good enough. There are times when we have looked good, but then fallen away. Top players want to play at the top level."

By that, Sheringham meants European football, either with a Premiership side, or one from the Continent. "I will contemplate anything, I like to think there will be a lot of interest," he said.

Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, thought there would be. "I expect there will be a lot of interest in England and abroad," Hoddle said. "He is a clever, thoughtful player. You can explain anything to him and he will go out on the pitch and emulate it. That's an art.

"His training and approach to the game is impeccable. His warm-ups and warm-downs, his stretching, everything. He is a true professional. He even wins at the table tennis and golf.

"He is of an age when the penny has dropped and he realises these things are important. He also has a strong character. He is someone who can still make the difference in a game which he had not started well."

Obvious candidates from the Premiership are Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle. Liverpool, having just sold Stan Collymore, have the finance, but the interest of their manager Roy Evans is not shared by the Liverpool board, who are worried by Sheringham's age. Manchester United could see the 31-year-old Sheringham as the ideal short-term replacement for Eric Cantona, while Newcastle have already been linked with him. They could recreate the potent international partnership of Sheringham and Alan Shearer with Les Ferdinand returning to the tutelage of Gerry Francis, his former manager at Queen's Park Rangers, as part of the bargain.

Foreign clubs will also be interested with Le Tournoi de France, which England are presently engaged in, a timely shop window. Among those clubs taking an interest will be Internazionale, whose ranks currently include Sheringham's England team-mate, Paul Ince. When informed of Sheringham's decision by the press, Ince immediately said he would be contacting the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, to suggest he took an interest. "He is one of those players who could go to Italy and do well," said Ince, who added that he was still to determine his own future.

Manchester United will complete their pre-season preparations with a home game against the Czech side, Slavia Prague, on Wednesday 6 August as part of the deal which brought Karel Poborsky to Old Trafford.

Martin O'Neill, the Leicester manager, is set to sign a new contract that will keep him at Filbert Street until the year 2000.

Brighton and Hove Albion look set to start next season playing their home games at Gillingham. The Third Division club's board of directors have ruled out a move to Hove Greyhound Stadium because there is not enough time to bring it up to Football League standard by obtaining planning permission and improving the pitch.

Roberto Mancini has ended his 15-year career with Sampdoria after agreeing a three-year contract with Lazio. The Genoa club have replaced their 32- year-old striker with Jurgen Klinsmann, who signed a one-year contract yesterday.

Sugar bows out at Amstrad, page 24