'Rejected' Berg is embraced by Ewood

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The Independent Online

Henning Berg returned to Blackburn Rovers on loan yesterday after admitting that he could not accept being ignored at Manchester United.

Henning Berg returned to Blackburn Rovers on loan yesterday after admitting that he could not accept being ignored at Manchester United.

The Norwegian made the move back to Ewood Park after three years at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson let Berg go despite United's Champions' League campaign starting this week - and a current injury crisis - because the centre-half wanted to leave.

The experienced international revealed he had to leave after making just one appearance as a substitute this season. Berg said: "I've been out of the team and it's difficult for me. I need to play at this stage of my career. I want football every week.

"I spoke to the manager and he decided to let me go on loan. Now I have got that chance and I am grateful they allowed me to leave."

The Cameroon international central defender Lucien Mettomo will stay with the French side St-Etienne despite overtures from Blackburn. His agent said Mettomo did not wish to step down a division.

Manchester United are considering offering players share options to combat the higher salaries and transfer fees paid by other top European clubs. "It makes an awful lot of sense," said the football analyst William Davies of the stockbrokers Capel-Cure Sharp. "The United share price has got a good future, certainly for the next few years. Of course the share price could go down, but I regard United as the most attractive football club in the world."

Gianluca Vialli is closing in on a £8.5m deal for Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Savio Bortolini in time to play in Europe. The Chelsea manager has made a new approach for Savio, who can play on the left wing or in Gianfranco Zola's withdrawn role.

Vialli wants his offer to be accepted over the weekend to allow Savio to be registered for the Uefa Cup by Tuesday's deadline.

The Coventry manager Gordon Strachan has signed two Honduran internationals. They are 21-year-old Jairo Martinez, a striker, and the 23-year-old midfielder Ivan Guerrero. The players were signed for undisclosed sums from the Honduran club Motagua and will sign long-term contracts when their work permits are through.

The pair will link up with Coventry next month after representing their country in the Olympic Games.

Nigeria's Football Association said yesterday that it had agreed to a request from the Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu to miss the Olympics. Kanu, a key figure in Nigeria's gold-medal winning team in 1996, had asked not to play in the Sydney tournament in order to devote his energies to Arsenal.

Barnsley's Chris Morgan has had his appeal against his sending-off against Birmingham last month turned down. The Football Association's Video Advisory Panel recommended his plea be rejected and the FA chief executive Adam Crozier endorsed the VAP's view.

Morgan will therefore serve a three-match suspension staring on Monday.

Leyton Orient have applied for a judicial review to prevent West Ham taking over the site of the Third Division club's training ground centre of excellence, only 500 yards from their Brisbane Road stadium. West Ham have agreed to pay the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority £1m for the 27-acre site to create a new headquarters for their youth academy.

Orient's chief executive Steve Dawson said: "It's been our training ground for four years but our biggest concern is for the 130 kids at our centre of excellence, who'll have nowhere to go." The case is due to be heard next week.

Tony Cottee is having talks with Norwich City. The veteran striker is leaving Leicester City because of lack of first-team chances and would cost the Canaries around £250,000.

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