Souness ready to pay £7m for French pair

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Graeme Souness is looking to use part of Jack Walker's legacy to Blackburn Rovers to sign two French-based players for a combined total of £7m.

Graeme Souness is looking to use part of Jack Walker's legacy to Blackburn Rovers to sign two French-based players for a combined total of £7m.

The Rovers manager has offered £4m for Lucien Mettomo, the powerful St-Etienne centre-back, rated the most promising defender in France, and Kaba Diawara, the former Arsenal striker, is set to arrive from Paris St-Germain in a move that will eventually be worth around £3m.

Souness made an offer for Mettomo yesterday according to St-Etienne sources. The athletic defender is just the type of player that Souness needs as he tries to lead Blackburn back to the Premiership and mark Walker's huge contribution to the club.

Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, is poised to sign the 27-year-old Cameroon international striker Sammy Ipoua. Ipoua, who had a spell at Everton before the season began, scoring in a couple of games without being offered a contract, has now joined Bolton on a short-term deal and could be offered a full-time move shortly.

Paul Ritchie celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday by completing his £500,000 move to Manchester City from Rangers.

The Scotland defender has signed a four-year deal with the Premiership side after failing to play a competitive game for Rangers. City's chief operating officer, Chris Bird, said: "The deal is all done and Paul has signed a four-year contract."

Ritchie trained with his new team-mates at Maine Road yesterday and he will be hoping the move can rekindle his international career after the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, said he would not consider him for next month's World Cup qualifier against Latvia because he has not been playing.

Steve Guppy could be leaving Filbert Street after failing to feature in Leicester City's first Premiership game of the season at the weekend against Aston Villa. Guppy is to meet with the Leicester manager, Peter Taylor, to discuss hisfuture at the club.

Guppy was not told why he was not in the squad and only found out about Taylor's decision shortly before kick-off at Filbert Street. "Perhaps the time has come for me to leave Filbert Street," Guppy said.

"I did not know I would not be involved in the Villa game until a short while before the kick-off. I felt shocked and surprised. The manager told me nothing to explain the decision, so I shall be seeking an urgent meeting with him to find out where I stand."

Birmingham City face an anxious wait to discover whether or not their striker Geoff Horsfield has broken his leg. The 26-year-old spent the weekend in hospital after being injured against Fulham - the club that sold him for £2.25m in the summer - on Friday night.

An X-ray showed no break, but the Blues now await the results of an MRI scan. Even if that does not show a break he is still expected to be out for around three weeks.

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