Wimbledon test Merson's desire to return south

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Wimbledon have had a £3m bid for Paul Merson accepted by Aston Villa and they are hoping to bring the former England midfielder back to London. The Dons' manager, Terry Burton, knows Merson from their Arsenal days.

Wimbledon have had a £3m bid for Paul Merson accepted by Aston Villa and they are hoping to bring the former England midfielder back to London. The Dons' manager, Terry Burton, knows Merson from their Arsenal days.

Villa are willing to let Merson go as he has hinted he would like to return to London. They may want to see if Merson intends to leave or is simply trying to engineer a new contract with them. If Merson left, Villa would step up their efforts to sign David Ginola from Tottenham, but Marseilles are also interested in the Frenchman.

Neil Lennon, who is being pursued by Celtic, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, is being offered a huge pay rise to stay at Leicester City for the rest of his career. The Northern Ireland international is already the highest-paid player at the club, but his new contract offer includes a rise that will take him into the £30,000-a-week bracket.

Graeme Souness, the Blackburn Rovers manager, has made a £2.5m offer for Jonatan Johansson in the hope of prising the Finnish international striker away from his former club, Rangers.

Rovers will be disappointed in their pursuit of Fulham's captain, Chris Coleman. They were putting together a £3.5m offer, but the Welsh international centre-back has signed a new four-year contract at Craven Cottage.

The Slovakia international centre-half, Stanislav Varga, is having a medical at Sunderland after impressing their manager, Peter Reid, in training over the past couple of days. The Slovan Bratislava player, who last week flew to Denmark to play in a friendly for Bolton will need a work permit before completing a £750,000 transfer.

Sunderland are unexpectedly selling Nicky Summerbee for £1.75m. The wide player will be having talks with Bradford City today.

Aston Villa are trying to sign the former Rangers defender Joachim Bjorklund from Valencia as they prepare to sell Ugo Ehiogu for £6.5m to Manchester City, Sunderland or Middlesbrough. The Swedish international centre-half's agent has flown in to discuss personal terms in a £3m deal.

Niclas Alexandersson passed his Everton medical yesterday and immediately flew out to join up with his new team-mates at their Italian training camp. The £2.5m Sweden international had to wait overnight for the results of tests.

Manchester City have pulled out of a move for the Nigerian former Everton striker Daniel Amokachi, who had been on trial at Maine Road. City's manager, Joe Royle, said: "Daniel's knee is not what we would expect it to be at this moment."

Silvio Maric, who has failed to fit in at Newcastle since his £3.5m transfer in February last year, is set to join Porto for £2m. Reports in Portugal say the 25-year-old Croatian international has signed a five-year deal.

Claus Jensen is joining Charlton from Bolton in a record £4m deal after the Danish midfielder changed his mind about joining Ipswich. Bolton have signed the Birmingham City full-back Simon Charlton under the Bosman ruling. Charlton, 29, has agreed a two-year deal.

Giorgi Kinkladze is expected to miss Derby's first two Premiership matches of the season, against Southampton and Newcastle. The Georgian midfielder is resting after a hernia operation.

The Football Association have passed on information to the Fraud Squad to help with an investigation into the financial affairs of the Third Division club Hull City.

Steve Archibald, the former Tottenham and Barcelona striker, is on the verge of completing his takeover of Airdrie after the provisional liquidators, KPMG, confirmed him as preferred bidder for the club. Derek Mountfield, the former Everton and Aston Villa defender, has been appointed the new manager of the League of Ireland club Cork City.

Lazio have sealed a deal to acquire the Dutch international Boudewijn Zenden from Barcelona for £7.25m.

Franz Beckenbauer says he has no plans to become president of world football's governing body, Fifa. "The job does not interest me," Beckenbauer, who chaired Germany's successful campaign to stage the 2006 World Cup, told the weekly Bunte in an interview released yesterday.

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