Football: United offered Batistuta for pounds 13m

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Manchester United are being offered the Argentine World Cup player Gabriel Batistuta - for a little matter of pounds 13m.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, has been sounded out by agents working for the Fiorentina forward, who headed the Serie A scoring charts last season. Batistuta wants to come to England at the end of this season, and United will monitor his progress.

The Feyenoord chairman, Jorien van den Herik, is to contact Celtic today to discuss "the conditions" for buying Pierre van Hooijdonk. The 27-year- old Dutch striker's rift with the Glasgow club has apparently reached breaking point.

Two more French players are targets for Arsenal. The full-back Jerome Bonnissel wants to leave the Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna to work with Arsene Wenger, while the international midfielder Claude Makelele, unhappy at Nantes, is claiming Arsenal and Chelsea have both expressed an interest.

The Southampton defender Jason Dodd must undergo a knee operation to repair a damaged cartilage. The former England Under-21 international has been suffering knee trouble for the past two months.

West Bromwich Albion are set to strengthen their injury-hit squad by signing the Notts County central defender Shaun Murphy for pounds 500,000.

Bolton Wanderers yesterday completed the signing of the Sheffield Wednesday midfield player, John Sheridan. They are paying pounds 180,000 for the Republic of Ireland international, and Wednesday will receive a further pounds 25,000 if Bolton are promoted.

The Birmingham City striker Mike Newell, who earlier this month rejected a move to Bolton, has joined West Ham on a month's loan.

Juninho is doubtful for Middlesbrough's match at Blackburn tomorrow. The Brazilian has not fully recovered from an ankle injury he received at Aston Villa three weeks ago.