Football: United give Keane 48 hours

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MANCHESTER UNITED want Roy Keane to sign a record contract in the next 48 hours - or they will begin negotiations to sell him to Internazionale.

The club's chief executive, Martin Edwards, has offered the United captain a package worth pounds 30,000 a week and told his advisors that he must take it or leave Old Trafford. United are aware that the Inter coach, Marcello Lippi, will pay around pounds 10m now, and the plc board would sooner have that money than lose him for nothing at the end of the season.

United discovered yesterday that they would have to pay Barcelona pounds 60m to buy Rivaldo out of his contract - and they would have to offer the Brazilian around double the wages wanted by Keane. The midfielder's contract at Barca has a pounds 60m buy-out clause.

The Old Trafford manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has refused to be drawn on whether he is interested in the Brazilian, with whom United were linked yesterday, but he says he rates Rivaldo as the best player in the world. United's reserve goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw is on standby to face Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford tomorrow night if Mark Bosnich fails to shake off a thigh strain. Bosnich picked up the injury in training last week and aggravated it during Sunday's 1-1 draw at Everton.

The Everton striker Francis Jeffers has said his transfer request "isn't about money." The highly regarded 18-year-old was left out of Walter Smith's side on Sunday because of his unexpected request.

Jeffers, who is set for talks with Smith over his future this week, said: "My dream has always been to play for Everton, it has not been to earn thousands of pounds a week. I don't expect to walk into the team but I wasn't used much in pre- season and with a few other things it has left me wondering whether I'm wanted."

Everton's owner, Peter Johnson, has played down speculation that Bill Kenwright is set to take a controlling interest in the club. Hopes were raised over the weekend that the reputed pounds 20m sale of the Goodison Park club to a consortium headed by vice-chairman Kenwright could be secured. A club statement read: "Mr Johnson continues to hold discussions with a number of parties and, as previously announced, will inform shareholders and supporters alike of any developments as soon as possible."

Wimbledon have completed the signings of Trond Andersen and Walid Badir. Andersen, a Norwegian Under-21 international defender, has joined for pounds 2.5m from Molde, while midfielder Badir, who agreed terms last month, has completed his pounds 1m switch from the Israeli side Hapoel Petach-Tikva.

The England Under-21 striker James Beattie has rejected a new deal at Southampton because he wants to become a free agent when his current deal runs out in 2002. The 21-year-old has been offered a one-year extension to his present deal. The former Saints defender Ken Monkou is training with Queen's Park Rangers this week after starting the season out of work.

The Barnsley manager, Dave Bassett, is trying to sign the former Watford and Exeter City goalkeeper Kevin Miller, who is looking for a club after leaving Crystal Palace.

The Sunderland striker Paul Beavers has joined Oldham Athletic on a free transfer.

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