Ball's pay demands hold up £7m move to Rangers

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The Independent Online

Michael Ball is demanding a £700,000 pay-off from Everton before he will agree to a £7m move to Rangers. The England defender is holding out for the severance money as he did not ask for a transfer, and will only move to Glasgow if the terms are financially worthwhile. Ball was due to head to Ibrox last night, but stayed on Merseyside instead for talks with his club.

Ball is also considering the repercussions for his international career, fearing he will put his England hopes at risk if signs for Rangers and snubs a chance to join Liverpool. The England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, is known to want his players involved at Premiership or Champions' League level, but the Rangers bid is more than Liverpool or Middlesbrough are presently willing to pay.

Middlesbrough, who appear to have given up on signing Ball, have turned to the Sunderland left-back, Michael Gray. The Boro manager, Steve McClaren, is lining up a £5m bid and also expects to sign Manchester United's Jonathan Greening and Mark Wilson in a £3.75m double deal today.

John Hartson, the Coventry City striker, was in Glasgow last night finalising the terms of a move to Celtic. The 26-year-old Welsh international underwent medical tests and, pending the results, the deal should be completed today after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee thought be around £7m.

Celtic also hope to confirm the £700,000 signing of the Leicester winger Steve Guppy, subject to a successful medical. The 32-year-old will be reunited with the former Foxes manager Martin O'Neill at Parkhead.

Newcastle United have finally completed the £10m signing of the Paris St-Germain forward, Laurent Robert, on a five-year contract. "We have been chasing the signature of Laurent for a long time and whilst it has been a bit of a struggle it was worth the wait," the Magpies chairman, Freddy Shepherd said.

The Dutch winger, Boudewijn Zenden, could be heading to Chelsea after Barcelona said he would be leaving the club.

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