Anelka issues ultimatum to Liverpool over transfer

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The Independent Online

Nicolas Anelka returned to France yesterday and demanded that Liverpool make a decision on his move to the club by the end of the week.

Anelka had offered to take a pay cut to join the Merseyside club from Paris St-Germain on a permanent basis, only to discover that he had a rival for the vacancy in West Ham's Frédéric Kanouté.

Kanouté said yesterday: "I have had contact. Liverpool sound interested and I am too. I am happy at West Ham and still have two years left on my contract. But Liverpool are a club who regularly play for top places."

Now Anelka is waiting for the Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, to choose between himself and Kanouté, but the former Arsenal striker will not allow the situation to drift on for long. Anelka and his advisers want a decision by Friday.

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, is determined to sign the veteran defender Martin Keown on a new contract this summer. Keown, 35, is out of contract at the end of this season and wants a two-year deal although, at present, the club only wants to offer him a one-year contract. Wenger said: "Of course, I want him to stay."

Sunderland will give their manager, Peter Reid, a transfer kitty of £10m – plus cash from sales – to sign six new players in the summer, preferably British ones. Reid has been advised to cut back on foreign deals after some expensive disasters, notably the French striker Lilian Laslandes and the Argentinian prospect Nicolas Medina. Reid has started scouring the domestic market for a right back, centre-back, right winger, right midfield and striker plus a second-choice goalkeeper.

Everton have made a move for the Wimbledon goalkeeper Kelvin Davis. Davis is valued at £4m by Wimbledon, although Everton are interested in a transfer at half of that price.

Davis has also been linked with Aston Villa, but they were put off by the cost of signing him and have instead taken the more experienced and cheaper Dutchman Stefan Postma for £1.5m from the Dutch team De Graafschap.

The Preston manager, Craig Brown, is talking to Gareth Ainsworth about a return to Deepdale. Brown is trying to sign Ainsworth from Wimbledon on the advice of his backroom staff who were impressed with the winger's displays at his old club while back on loan.

Chievo have played down reports they are to move for West Ham's Paolo Di Canio, while Seville have denied rumours linking teenage striker Jose Antonio Reyes to Arsenal.

Anderlecht have taken the West Ham defender Ragnvald Soma on trial with a view to a permanent move. The 22-year-old Norwegian joined the Hammers 15 months ago from Bryne for £800,000, but has failed to win a first-team place.

Craig Bellamy aims to be back in action for the beginning of the next Premiership season. The Newcastle United striker has had successful keyhole surgery in the United States on a knee injury which ruined the end of his season.

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