Birmingham make offer for Bernard

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The Independent Online

Birmingham City have made an offer for the Newcastle United left-back Olivier Bernard, who is out of contract at St James' Park this summer and would be available for around £500,000, writes Sam Wallace.

Birmingham City have made an offer for the Newcastle United left-back Olivier Bernard, who is out of contract at St James' Park this summer and would be available for around £500,000, writes Sam Wallace.

With the £3m fee for midfielder Robbie Savage's move to Blackburn Rovers, the Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, is also understood to be interested in signing the Newcastle centre-back Andy O'Brien, who Graeme Souness is considering selling this month.

Bernard has refused to sign a new deal and the arrival of Celestine Babayaro from Chelsea has put his position under threat. The Frenchman has told Newcastle that it will be his choice whether he leaves before his contract expires in the summer. Bruce has already told Dwight Yorke he can leave and has acquired Liverpool's Senegalese midfielder Salif Diao on loan to the end of the season.

Souness is trying to negotiate the signing of Portsmouth's Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni and the club's midfielder Amdy Faye and would need some room to manoeuvre with Newcastle's wage bill.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa plan to deny Lee Hendrie's hopes of a two-year contract extension. The 27-year-old, who has 18 months left of his current deal, wants a contract running until 2008, but Villa are only prepared to give him an extra 12 months.

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