City deny Richards is Chelsea-bound as transfer window opens

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The Independent Online

Watford have made their first signing of the January transfer window with the arrival of striker Moses Ashikodi from Rangers for a nominal fee.

Ashikodi, 19, impressed during a two-week trial at Vicarage Road and has been given a two-and-a-half year contract by the Hornets. He began his career at Millwall, becoming the youngest player at 15 to represent the club's first team in March 2003, and then joined West Ham a year later before moving to Glasgow. Ashikodi has represented England at all levels from Under-15 to Under-19 and goes straight into the squad for Saturday's FA Cup tie with Stockport.

Manchester City have angrily dismissed claims that Chelsea have lodged a £13m bid for defender Micah Richards.

Richards, 18, who became the seventh-youngest England international in history when he turned out in the 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in November, is thought to have been targeted by Jose Mourinho as he looks for an answer to Chelsea's problems at the back. With John Terry not expected to be fit for next Saturday's FA Cup tie against Macclesfield, it has been reported that Mourinho has approached City with an offer for Richards.

"There has been no bid, and no contact from anyone about any of our players," said a City spokesman.

Sheffield United claim they could receive up to £1.125m for Ade Akinbiyi after selling the striker back to Burnley.

The Clarets announced the £750,000 signing less than 12 hours into the January transfer window but the Blades have claimed they will receive a seven- figure sum depending on add-ons in the deal.

The 32-year-old rejoined the Clarets on a two-and-a-half-year contract less than 12 months after leaving Turf Moor in a club-record £1.75m transfer.

Anthony Stokes has returned to Arsenal for discussions on his future after his successful spell at Falkirk.

The 18-year-old has been in sensational form for the Bairns this season and hit a hat-trick in 12 minutes against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday to take his tally to 16 goals for the season in all competitions.

However, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international's loan deal at Falkirk, which expired yesterday, has not been extended and Falkirk confirmed that Stokes had departed for talks in London to decide where he spends the rest of the season. Stokes has already admitted he is unlikely to return to Falkirk.

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