Football: Wilson on warpath

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The Independent Online
DANNY WILSON, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has denounced speculation linking him with a player-plus-cash move for Nottingham Forest's Pierre van Hooijdonk.

Forest rate the Dutchman at pounds 8m after he refused to return to the City Ground this summer. Wilson, however, was adamant that he had not offered Andy Booth plus pounds 3m for the striker.

"There has been no contact between Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest. The story is absolute fabrication," Wilson said.

Forest have tabled an undisclosed bid for the Le Havre defender Matthieu Louis-Jean, who has been on trial at the City Ground.

The West Ham midfielder and England Under-21 international, Frank Lampard, pledged his future to the Hammers yesterday when he signed a new five- year contract.

The former West Bromwich Albion defender Shane Nicholson will discover at a hearing at Lancaster Gate today whether he will be allowed to continue his career. The 28-year-old was banned from "all forms of the game" by the Football Association in April after being found guilty of failing to submit a random drugs test in February.

The Chelsea player-manager and former Juventus captain, Gianluca Vialli, has described the Roma coach, Zdenek Zeman, as "the stingiest man in soccer" and said he was relishing the prospect of taking the Czech to court over doping allegations. Vialli, responding to comments made by Zeman last week, strenuously denied he had taken drugs while at the Turin club between 1992 and '96.

"It will be a joy to relieve the stingiest man in soccer of millions of lire and give it to charity," Vialli told La Stampa. "That would cause him more pain than anything else."

Vialli stressed that he had never been pressured by Juventus to take illegal drugs.

Zeman, meanwhile, was being questioned by a prosecutor about his allegations that some players may use performance-enhancing substances.

Tomas Brolin, the former Swedish international striker, yesterday announced his retirement from playing at the age of 28. He spent his best years in Italy, at Parma, after which he had less successful spells at Leeds and Crystal Palace.