Everton fight 'other forces' in struggle to keep Rooney

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The Independent Football

The Everton director, Paul Gregg, said yesterday that it was "incredibly sad" that the club are having to contemplate selling Wayne Rooney. Gregg said Everton have offered the 18-year-old England international a five-year, £50,000-a-week contract to keep him at Goodison Park but he is worried that other clubs will prise him away.

The Everton director, Paul Gregg, said yesterday that it was "incredibly sad" that the club are having to contemplate selling Wayne Rooney. Gregg said Everton have offered the 18-year-old England international a five-year, £50,000-a-week contract to keep him at Goodison Park but he is worried that other clubs will prise him away.

Gregg said: "I wish we could persuade Wayne to stay; we'd like to see him stay. He's a big ambassador for Everton and it's sad that other forces make decisions for us. From Everton's point of view this is a home-bred talent who has not had the chance to mature with Everton. I think we all feel that we've not had the full benefit of his talent to date. I sincerely hope he will still be here when the season kicks off but unfortunately it may be other forces which make those decisions for us."

Rooney, who turns 19 in October, has been linked with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid since scoring four goals for England at Euro 2004 last month. Rooney has returned to the club after receiving treatment on the foot which he damaged during England's defeat by Portugal in Lisbon on 24 June.

Everton's owner, Bill Kenwright, said on Monday that if Rooney did not accept the new terms, the club would have to consider letting him go, rather than risk losing him for less or even nothing when his current contract enters its final year.

Rooney is one of a number of worries for Everton with the new season approaching. Their chief executive, Trevor Birch, left last week after six weeks in his job, while a boardroom power battle is looming involving Kenwright, Gregg and others.

Tomasz Radzinski pulled out of Everton's friendly at Crewe last night as Fulham made a new, third bid to sign him. The Canadian striker claimed he had a hamstring injury and missed the match, but he could have already kicked his last ball for the club.

Radzinski is keen for Moyes to accept the latest offer of around £1.5m. Moyes has been holding out for more but may now have to accept he has lost the player and take the money.

Meanwhile Everton's interest in the captain of Marseille, Brahim Hemdani, has diminished after talks with Moyes.

The Portsmouth midfielder Amdy Faye looks set to stay at Fratton Park following the breakdown of his proposed £3m move to Fulham. The London club, who had offered to significantly increase the player's current wages, say they have pulled out of the deal for "a number of reasons" following Faye's medical examination earlier this week.

However, Pompey claim the 26-year-old Senegal international changed his mind about leaving after learning the south coast club are bidding to sign his Senegal team-mate Papa Diop from Lens.

The chairman of Newcastle United, Freddy Shepherd, was in talks with Patrick Kluivert's agent yesterday. Within hours of returning from the club's tour of the Far East, Shepherd met Paul Foortseto discuss a year-long loan deal with the prospect of a permanent transfer next summer.

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