Football: Van Hanegem the new Everton front-runner

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The Independent Online
The Dutch coach, Wim van Hanegem, is the new front-runner for the post of Everton manager.

Van Hanegem, who was coach of the Dutch side, Feyenoord, between 1992 and 1995, applied for job at the Merseyside club and has been interviewed, but was expected to be offered a back-room post. However, Everton's inability to attract any of their leading candidates for the manager's position has forced their chairman Peter Johnson to lower his sights, and he is thought to be ready to offer Van Hanegem the top post.

Bobby Robson, the Barcelona coach, and George Graham, the Leeds manager, have both spurned Everton's advances, while Martin O'Neill, another to attract Johnson's interest, signed a new contract with Leicester this week. Van Hanegem, 53, played in the Dutch international side which pioneered total football in the 70s and appeared in the 1974 World Cup final.

Robson is also wanted by the Turkish club Besiktas, who are reported have made an offer worth arouind pounds 2.5m over two seasons.

Paul Hart, Leeds' director of youth coaching, has left the club and strongly criticised its management and owners. Hart, who guided Leeds to the FA Youth Cup and Northern Intermediate League title double last season, is considering an offer to join Nottingham Forest as their director of youth development.

He said: "I find it astonishing that George Graham has watched our youth team only three times since he took over as manager. I fear the club's owners, Caspian, and the manager have no real insight into the 10-year plan laid down by the old board when Howard Wilkinson took over as manager in 1988. We have an outstanding group of youngsters. It would be a tragedy if all the hard work that has been put in, allied to the boys' exceptional talent, goes to waste."

Wolves yesterday signed the 16-year-old identical twins, Chris and Matthew Clarke. They are thought to be the first twins to join the same club since Ron and Paul Futcher were recruited by Chester in 1973.

Arsenal's David Platt may be on his way to Japan. Platt is the target of the struggling J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds. Platt could make his debut when the J-League second stage starts on 30 July.

Rangers said yesterday that they will fight to keep Brian Laudrup. The Danish winger is wanted by Ajax's new manager Morton Olsen, who is thought to be prepared to pay pounds 4.5m to link him with his brother, Michael.

Berti Vogts has said that his suggestion that England play a match against Germany to decide which country bids to host the 2006 World Cup was a joke and not to be taken seriously.

John Spencer and John Collins yesterday pulled out of Scotland's squad for Sunday's World Cup qualifier in Belarus.