Football: United in hunt for Desailly

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The Independent Online
Manchester United have entered the race for Milan's powerful defender Marcel Desailly. The Frenchman is considering a move and sources in Italy claim his representatives have spoken to United and Barcelona.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, sees Desailly as a replacement for the injury troubled Gary Pallister. Desailly is to decide on his next move in the next fortnight and has also to receive final contract offers from both clubs, which is in United's favour as they plan to conclude the chase for Juninho shortly.

The signs are that Atletico Madrid will offer in excess of pounds 10m for the Brazilian, a figure United may match, leaving the final decision to the player. If Juninho goes abroad, Ferguson will step up his push for Desailly.

Eyal Berkovitch is planning to leave Southampton following Graeme Souness's departure and is to have talks with West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Franz Beckenbauer, Germany's former coach and captain, has made a fierce attack on England for running a rival bid against Germany to host the 2006 World Cup. "The English have left us in the lurch. We expected the English to support us. This has got nothing to do with English fair play," he said yesterday. "The English themselves are OK, but the Football Association has to look at whether it is in order."

Following Beckenbauer's outburst, Berti Vogts, the Germany coach, called on England to withdraw their bid, saying: "If I was the Prime Minister of Britain I would tell the FA to withdraw. If they have any character they will pull out. All the countries in Europe think that."

Everton have moved closer to leaving Goodison Park after supporters voted overwhelmingly in favour of moving to a new 60,000 all-seat stadium.

The club ran a poll in the match programme on the final day of the season asking supporters whether they would consider a move to a new stadium on the outskirts of Liverpool. Almost 84 per cent of the 21,974 fans who replied said that they were in favour of chairman Peter Johnson's plans for the new stadium.

Wolves will block any move from Reading to talk their assistant manager, Colin Lee, about a return to Elm Park to take the vacant manager's job. Lee said: "I have assured the club that I will do things properly and not walk out. Unless I am given permission to talk to Reading I will be staying with Wolves."

The Stoke goalkeeper, Mark Prudhoe, has turned down a new deal because he is fed up waiting for the club to name a new manager. Grimsby and Plymouth are both keen to secure his signature.

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