Football: Yorke pounds 12m tempts Villa

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The Independent Online
ALEX FERGUSON stepped up Manchester United's pursuit of Aston Villa's Dwight Yorke yesterday, offering pounds 12m for the striker in an attempt to complete the transfer before Thursday's deadline for signings to play in the Champions' League.

The Old Trafford manager increased United's previous offer of pounds 10m and Yorke is also willing to accept the club's pay structures and sign a long- term contract. Such is Yorke's desire to move to United that he could earn more by signing a new deal at Villa.

Villa are reluctant to sell but the sum is so sizeable that it will give the club's manager, John Gregory, the funds to buy two or three new players. Ferguson had offered a players plus cash deal for the Trinidadian, an exchange rejected by Gregory. United may now gain Yorke without losing their leading scorer of last season, Andy Cole.

Kevin Gallacher, the Scotland striker, is ready to leave Blackburn Rovers after losing his place to the club's record signing, Kevin Davies. Gallacher is upset that his partnership with Chris Sutton has been broken up despite it being the most prolific in the Premier League last season.

Gallacher was among the substitutes for Blackburn's opening game on Saturday and in the reserves last night as he recovers from a double hernia operation. However, the Scot fears he has already become an understudy to the pounds 7.5m arrival Davies and the manager, Roy Hodgson, may opt to use him on the wing. Gallacher only wants to play through the middle for club and country and his best way of guaranteeing that is to leave Ewood Park.

Also unsettled is Chelsea's Dan Petrescu, who looks to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge after the club revealed that they would not stand in the way of a possible pounds 2.5m move to Ajax. The Romanian was understood to have been looking for an extension to his current contract when he returned from the World Cup in France.

However, the Chelsea player-manager, Gianluca Vialli, has told the 29- year-old that he was not guaranteed a place in his starting XI following the signing of the Spanish full-back Albert Ferrer and the return to fitness of Gustavo Poyet.

The club's managing director, Colin Hutchinson, said yesterday: "We became aware last week that Ajax were interested in him and he expressed the view that if the deal could be progressed, then he would like to go there. We will not stand in his way but Ajax have not yet made a formal bid."

The Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich could be reported to the Football Association by police following claims that he swore at the crowd at Everton. Merseyside police have confirmed that they are investigating two complaints - one from an off-duty policeman - at Saturday's goalless draw at Goodison Park.

The Australian international was warned about his future conduct by the FA two years ago after he made a Nazi-style salute at Tottenham.

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