Bolton keen on Davids after Barça talks stall

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The Bolton Wanderers manager, Sam Allardyce, is making a bold move to sign Edgar Davids from Barcelona on a free transfer.

The Bolton Wanderers manager, Sam Allardyce, is making a bold move to sign Edgar Davids from Barcelona on a free transfer.

Allardyce, who has opened talks with the Dutch midfielder's agent, Robert Geerling, moved in for the 31-year-old when they heard he had hit trouble in talks with Barça about a permanent move to the Catalan club.

The Dutch international has helped Barça's revival this season after he left Juventus mid-way through the season to sign for them on loan. However the Barça president, Joan Laporta, has yet to agree to his demands for a £30,000-a-week contract over two years, mainly because of his age.

Bolton have put their offer on the table and are awaiting developments. Geerling has admitted he had received a "big offer" from an English club. And, despite rumours that it was Chelsea who had come back in for a former target of theirs, Bolton have emerged as the unexpected bidders.

Allardyce has been chasing some big targets without much success. He is still waiting on the Brazilian star Rivaldo's answer after Celtic joined the race. However, Allardyce faces a snub from the Marseille defender, Abdoulaye Meité, who is now set to sign a new deal after the club's success in reaching the Uefa Cup final.

Barcelona wanted Davids to remain in Catalonia because he was instrumental in helping them surge up the table to finish in second place but appeared reluctant to give him the two-year deal he was seeking. Internazionale have also been strongly linked with Davids but Geerling said he had no knowledge of an offer from the Italian club.

Though Barça were still negotiating to keep Davids yesterday, four of his compatriots were given their marching orders. Patrick Kluivert, Marc Overmars, Phillip Cocu, Michael Reiziger, as well as the Turkish international goalkeeper Rustu Recber, will all be leaving the club this summer ­ which will almost certainly be of great interest to a number of Premiership clubs.

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