Blackburn stall on McBride loan after Grabbi elects to stay

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The Independent Football

Corrado Grabbi has turned down a move from Blackburn Rovers to Serie A's bottom club, Ancona, to the annoyance of the Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness.

The Italian striker's decision not to join Ancona on a free transfer means he will stay at Ewood Park with 18 months left on his contract. Souness had hoped to offload Grabbi because he needs to free up funds to sign the United States World Cup striker Brian McBride on loan from Columbus Crew.

McBride is available to join Blackburn for the rest of the season, but the Lancashire club have so far refused to pay the £200,000 "rental" fee charged by Major League Soccer.

Alan Mahon will have another chance to impress Souness after being recalled from his loan spell at Ipswich Town.

Mahon has been at Portman Road for the past three months, but is now in line for a place in the Blackburn squad to face Middlesbrough on Boxing Day. The Republic of Ireland international has not played for Blackburn for more than a year, but he has recaptured his form and confidence since joining Ipswich and, with Blackburn short of options on the left, Mahon has the opportunity to win a starting place.

Mahon's departure is a blow to the Ipswich manager, Joe Royle, who had hoped to sign the midfield player on a permanent basis to boost his side's promotion challenge.

Sam Allardyce, the Bolton Wanderers manager, has had an offer for the veteran Russian international Viktor Onopko rejected, and will instead return his attentions to the Celtic defender Johan Mjallby.

Onopko, 34, has chosen instead to sign for FC Saturn in his native Moscow, so Allardyce will now attempt to sign Mjallby on a free transfer before the Swede's contract expires at the end of the season.

The Rangers goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen will play in a hurriedly arranged closed-door friendly against Manchester United this morning in an attempt to secure a transfer to Burnley.

The Burnley manager, Stan Ternent, has been impressed by the Danish goalkeeper, who can leave Ibrox on a free transfer, but makes a rule of only signing players after he has seen them in a game. So he rang up his friend and United counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, to arrange the match.

"We will say more about it once we have decided," Ternent said. "I don't like talking about these things in case it goes wrong and the lad has 'Burnley didn't want to sign him' against his name."

Burnley's top scorer, Robbie Blake, is a target for the Sunderland manager, Mick McCarthy, whose initial bid of around £600,000 was turned down. Ternent had signed him from Bradford City for £1m two seasons ago.

Sunderland are now turning their attentions towards Swindon Town's in-form Tim Parkin, whois valued at £750,000 by the Second Division club. The former Chelsea prospect recently signed a contract with Swindon and will not be allowed to leave unless the price is acceptable.

Darren Huckerby has turned down a move to the First Division with either Norwich or West Brom. Manchester City last week accepted bids of around £750,000 for the striker, who has held discussions with both clubs.

However, Huckerby has been unable to agree personal terms with Norwich, where he spent three months on loan earlier in the season. West Brom had already admitted they were unable to match the terms on offer by Norwich and they have also conceded defeat in the chase.

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