Football: United dismiss Blackburn's pounds 4m offer for Cantona

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers, apparently peeved at Manchester United's attempts to take Alan Shearer away from them, yesterday made an offer believed to be in the region of pounds 4m for United's French international Eric Cantona.

The Blackburn chairman, Robert Coar, who also took time out yesterday to deny that Arsenal had made a pounds 3m move for the Blackburn captain, Tim Sherwood, said: "We have made a bid for Eric Cantona and are awaiting a response from United."

United's assistant secretary, Ken Ramsden, said: "There is no way the matter will be considered. The offer has been rejected out of hand. Eric will not be going to Blackburn or anywhere else."

Asked if United considered Rovers' bid to be a response to their own reported pounds 12m offer for Shearer, Ramsden replied: "It is an unusual episode to say the least, but it is not for us to question other clubs' motives."

Referring to Sherwood, the Blackburn chairman said: "Any suggestion that we have accepted a bid and that Tim is in talks with Arsenal are wide of the mark. We have not had an offer."

One Blackburn player on the move is the striker Mike Newell, who is expected to join Birmingham next week for pounds 1.2m.

United could be forced to increase their pounds 3.5m bid for the Czech midfielder Karel Poborsky of Slavia Prague. Slavia, who will be involved in the European Cup, say they do not want to let the 24-year-old leave. He has two years of his contract to run. The United manager, Alex Ferguson, said: "As far as I am concerned the deal is still alive and I am looking for a satisfactory outcome."

Liverpool's interest in Poborsky may cool now that Michael Thomas has signed a new contract. The 28-year-old former Arsenal midfield player spent a couple of days in Italy last week, talking to more than one club, but decided to accept an offer of up to three years to stay on Merseyside.

Another surprise signature yesterday was that of the Tottenham manager, Gerry Francis, who accepted a two-year deal from the Spurs chairman, Alan Sugar. Francis, 44, has hitherto preferred to work without a contract.

Gary McAllister has pledged his future to Leeds United, in spite of Coventry's hopes that he would move to Highfield Road. The 31-year-old Scottish international said: "I'm staying - it's as simple as that. As far as I am concerned all the speculation over me is just that - speculation."

Barnsley have won the race to sign the Middlesbrough striker Paul Wilkinson, who is expected to sign for the Oakwell club later today.

The Crystal Palace manager, Dave Bassett, may make a pounds 250,000 offer for Darlington's highly rated centre-half Sean Gregan. Bassett has taken Gregan on loan with a view to playing him in pre-season games and then completing the transfer.

Everton's transfer-listed defender Matt Jackson has had his price cut in an effort to find him a new club before the season starts. Sheffield Wednesday last season had an offer of pounds 1.2m for him turned down.

Brighton could be homeless in 10 months' time after Hove Council rejected their plans for a new stadium and shopping complex at Toads Hall Valley. The Seagulls have failed to produce the necessary traffic and environmental studies to support the application.

Fifa, the world governing body, has suspended the Croat international Goran Vlaovic because he has signed with three different clubs. Vlaovic, who played last season with Padova in Italy, has apparently signed for Napoli as well as the Spanish clubs Valencia and Espanol.