Football: Villa bid to revive Milosevic transfer

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The Independent Online
Aston Villa will send a delegation to Italy later this week to try to rescue striker Savo Milosevic's projected move to Perugia.

Milosevic had his first training session with Villa in more than a fortnight yesterday after returning to England when doubts arose over whether the deal would go through at the weekend.

Villa thought a pounds 4.5m fee had been agreed, but now Perugia are believed to be willing to pay only around pounds 2m for the Yugoslav international.

But Villa are mainly concerned about the lack of communication at the Italian end, hence the reason for flying out. Manager Brian Little said yesterday: "We understand the person who would be signing the papers which would authorise the deal has been away for a week.

"Savo rang me before the weekend to ask what was going on and I had to tell him the same information, but he is keen to train and so I told him to get back to us.

"Personally I would say the transfer is still more on than off but the longer it goes on, the worse it is for everyone concerned. There will be an outcome and we will be looking to speed up that outcome this week."

Villa's company secretary, Steve Stride, said: "The logical next step is a trip to Italy to resolve it once and for all."

The stumbling block still appears to be Perugia's failure to off-load striker Marco Negri, who has been attracting the interest of Seville. Perugia were banking on receiving around pounds 2m from that deal to help finance the Milosevic deal, hence their reason for now only being willing to pay around half of the pounds 4.5m Villa had been hoping for.

Little was unable to meet chairman Doug Ellis yesterday to see if he could press ahead with a pounds 6m bid for Liverpool's Stan Collymore, irrespective of whether Milosevic is sold.

Ellis was away from Villa Park attending a Football Association meeting in London and unavailable for comment. He has already sanctioned the spending of pounds 21m on players during Little's near two-year reign at the club.

The Brazilian Emerson is set to resume training with his Middlesbrough team-mates today for the first time since his late return from a holiday in his native country.

That is expected to be the prelude to more elongated talks with manager Bryan Robson over the future of his pounds 4m midfield player, who returned to Brazil reportedly vowing never to play for the club again.

Robson held initial brief discussions with Emerson on Saturday after he arrived back in England 72 hours late but then broke off to concentrate on Monday's game with Derby County at the Baseball Ground.

The Boro boss was not at the Riverside Stadium yesterday and he gave his first-team squad the day off from training after they lost 2-1 to the Rams, a game watched from the stand by Emerson, who still has to serve two matches of a three-game suspension.

Middlesbrough have already made it clear that they will insist on Emerson honouring his four-year contract. But Robson is keen to smooth over troubled waters if possible and the question of helping Emerson's homesick girlfriend Andrea settle in the north-east will be a crucial factor.