Deportivo prepare £9m offer for Flo

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The Independent Online

Deportivo La Coruña are to test Chelsea's ability and willingness to hold on to Tore Andre Flo with a £9m offer, writes Alan Nixon.

Deportivo La Coruña are to test Chelsea's ability and willingness to hold on to Tore Andre Flo with a £9m offer, writes Alan Nixon.

The Norwegian has returned from Euro 2000 to find that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen have joined the queue for first-team places, and Deportivo, the Spanish champions, can offer a way out as they line up a bid after failing to sign Malaga's £9m-rated Brazilian Catanha.

Chelsea have so far been able to fend off previous interest from Rangers and foreign agents, but Deportivo's bid is the most worrying for them.

With Gianluca Vialli's side out of the Champions' League this season they could part with Flo at the right price. That may be more in the region of £14m, although Deportivo may also tempt Chelsea with a possible swap for their wayward Brazilian Djalminha and a cash adjustment. The unsettled midfielder has been made available at around £7m.

Another problem for Chelsea is the scheduled absence of Celestine Babayaro during the Olympics. Yesterday the club refused a request by the Nigerian Football Association for Babayaro to join a pre-Olympics training camp next month, but say they will not attempt to prevent him competing in the tournament.

Babayaro was named alongside Nwankwo Kanu in Nigeria's provisional squad for the Sydney Games in September. But while the Arsenal manager Arsÿne Wenger has indicated that he will attempt to block Kanu's involvement in the Olympics, Chelsea accept that there is nothing they can do to stop Babayaro taking part.

Newcastle are set to return to court to thrash out an £80,000 costs claim from six fans after an acrimonious legal battle. United are to ask for a costs hearing following the successful outcome of their courtroom dispute with season ticket holders who challenged an attempt to move them from their seats at St James' Park to accommodate corporate clients.

The campaigners were left facing a bill for £198,000, £80,000 in excess of the insurance cover they had arranged, after the Court of Appeal ruled against them last month.

It was initially felt the Newcastle board would waive at least part of the costs after a bitter scrap which alienated large sections of the Magpies' support, but the club will now leave the determination of the final demand up to the courts.

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