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.

Edwards has increased the previous offer from pounds 28,000 but is still short of Keane's pounds 40,000-a-week target. Inter would be prepared to pay that, as Lippi rates Keane from old European battles with Juventus.

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. Rivaldo's contract at Barca has a pounds 60m buy-out clause.

United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to be drawn on whether he is interested in the Brazilian, but 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 says 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: "This isn't about money. My dream has always been to play for Everton, it has not been to earn thousands of pounds a week."

Jeffers, who was called into the England squad last season, said: "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, but a statement released yesterday was non-committal:

"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. The Norwegian Under-21 international defender Andersen 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.

Beattie, 21, out for the next three weeks with broken ribs after a fall at his home, was offered a one-year extension to his present deal. But talks have broken down and Mike Morris, Beattie's agent, said: "The chairman has tried very hard to reach James's demands. He has done everything possible but it would have meant breaking the club's wage structure.

"James is not being greedy but he is a current Under-21 international and one of South-ampton's most marketable assets."

A former Southampton asset, the centre-half Ken Monkou, is training with Queen's Park Rangers this week after starting the season out of work.

Barnsley's manager Dave Bassett is trying to sign the goalkeeper Kevin Miller, who is looking for a club after leaving Crystal Palace. Bassett hopes to sign Miller this week.

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

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