Palace move for Souness as Wigan close on Johnson

The Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan last night confirmed that he would be interested in appointing Graeme Souness as the club's next manager. "I have always admired Graeme," Jordan said. "I know him well and he is certainly the kind of manager that I would be interested in. I have a great deal of respect for him personally and professionally."

Jordan added that "if it's possible" he hoped to meet Souness next week, when the former Newcastle United manager returns from holiday, to discuss whether or not a deal can be agreed to succeed Iain Dowie, who quit Selhurst Park on Monday.

Souness, 53, has already spoken of his interest in the post. "I'm ready for another challenge, and Palace is something that appeals should it arise," he said. Jordan will also consider other options, however. Colchester United's Phil Parkinson could be a target but he was denied permission to speak to Charlton Athletic - which angered him - and that situation is unlikely to change if Palace make an approach.

At the same time Jordan has confirmed that he has accepted an £8.5m bid from Wigan Athletic for Andrew Johnson although the Premiership club will not be able to speak to the striker until he is released from England duty tomorrow following tonight's B international.

That will give other suitors - headed by Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth - time to see whether they can match Wigan's bid. It is thought that the 25-year-old favours Everton but, so far, they have bid £7.25m while Bolton have offered £8m, with Jordan adamant that the player will only leave to the highest bidder.

Wigan are also in a stronger position as they are prepared to pay the cash up-front rather than in staggered installments and will also substantially increase Johnson's £24,000-a-week wages.

"Wigan are in the box seat," Jordan said.

A late threat could come from Portsmouth who are believed to be readyto embark on a major spending spree with the co-owner Alexandre Gaydamak promising around £30m on acquiring new players. Johnson is a target, as is Wigan's Henri Camara, although he has been told he's going nowhere.

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