Football: Ward unhappy with Rovers' wage offer

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The Independent Online
ASHLEY WARD'S pounds 4.5m move to Blackburn Rovers is in danger of collapsing over his personal demands.

The big striker has been discussing terms with Rovers for the past 48 hours, after Barnsley finally consented to the sale. However Ward and his advisors, the Professional Footballers' Association, have been unable to agree on his salary at Blackburn, and Brian Kidd's planned capture could be off.

Ward is looking for around pounds 1m per year, but Blackburn's offer falls well short of that figure. They are thinking in terms of pounds 650,000 per year. Rovers' owner, Jack Walker, has a pay ceiling and no one is allowed to earn more than pounds 1m at Blackburn. Only Chris Sutton comes close to that figure.

The PFA negotiated Sutton's latest contract and know the pay scale he is on. Ward will not sell himself short and could now go to another club. Leeds, Leicester, Sheffield Wednesday and even Ward's old club Derby County are in the hunt.

Tottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of the German international midfielder, Steffen Freund, from Borussia Dortmund, according to German sources.

Borussia have confirmed that Freund had signed for Spurs in a deal which is thought to be worth pounds 750,000, with the player signing a contract until 2003. The Spurs manager, George Graham, and his director of football David Pleat held talks with the 28-year-old Freund at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.

Newcastle have pulled out of a pounds 5.2m deal to bring the Milan winger, Ibrahim Ba, to St James' Park after the Frenchman failed a medical. The 25-year-old international was on Tyneside on Wednesday after the two clubs agreed terms, but stringent tests revealed a long-standing knee injury and scuppered the prospective move.

Southampton have completed the signing of the French full-back, Patrick Colleter, from Marseilles. The 33-year-old's transfer is expected to cost the Saints around pounds 150,000.

Sheffield United have signed the Norwegian centre-back, Anders Jacobsen, from Start for a nominal fee. The Blades completed the five-month deal for the 30-year-old on Christmas Eve, after being held up by paperwork.

The Blades' manager, Steve Bruce, will not include Jacobsen in his plans for today's fixture at Birmingham City. Bruce said: "The Norwegian season finished five weeks ago - it would be wrong to pitch him in straight away. He's a big, typically English type of centre-half, and we'll see how he goes until the end of the season."