Fulham demand £15m for Saha

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The Independent Football

Manchester United have been told that it will cost £15m to sign the French striker Louis Saha from Fulham - more than twice what they are prepared to pay.

United are understood to be ready to pay £7m but are unwilling to go any higher for a player who would realistically be the Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy's understudy.

The Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, is opposed to any transfer of Saha and has said the player would leave the club "over my dead body". It now appears there is a price Fulham would sell at, but if the deal fails to materialise Saha could be offered an improved contract to stay at the club.

United are also considering signing the Leeds United striker Mark Viduka for £5m when the transfer window opens tomorrow and may make a move for the young PSV Eindhoven forward Arjen Robben.

Bolton Wanderers are close to signing Javi Moreno after the Atletico Madrid striker said he would like to play in the Premiership. Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, has flown to Spain for talks with the former Spanish international.

Moreno, who was recently dropped from Atletico's first-team squad after criticising the management, scored for Alaves against Liverpool in the 2001 Uefa Cup final.

"I like the idea of going to Bolton," Moreno said. "They have shown an interest in me and that proves I still have something to offer. I think Atletico want me to go and it is now down to me. Bolton want me and I am keen to go. I want to play, but there are other things to be sorted out."

Allardyce is also looking to sign the Bosnian centre half Dario Hibic from Atletico if the terms can be sorted out between the clubs.

Blackburn Rovers are to make a £750,000 offer for the Leicester City captain Muzzy Izzet. Graeme Souness, the Blackburn manager, views Izzet as the perfect replacement for the midfielder Barry Ferguson, who broke his kneecap in Sunday's victory over Newcastle United.

Ferguson has been told that he could be back in training in April following fears that he could be out for up to a year. Hisshattered kneecap has been wired together and there is no ligament damage to slow his recovery.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have signed the striker Ionel Ganea until the end of the season - subject to the player receiving a work permit and international clearance.

The 30-year-old Romanian international has passed a medical and the Premiership's bottom club have until noon on Friday to complete his registration to make him eligible for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Kidderminster.

Ganea made a name for himself with VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, where he scored 34 goals in 106 appearances over four seasons before moving to Turkey's Bursaspor last summer.

He has won 40 caps and scored 19 goals for Romania and played alongside the Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu in all eight of his country's unsuccessful qualifying games for Euro 2004 - scoring four goals.

Wolves are also looking to sign the Guatemala international striker Carlos Ruiz when the transfer window opens. The 24-year-old watched the 3-1 win over Leeds on Sunday and Wolves are hopeful they can agree a deal to bring the striker to Molineux on loan from the Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.

Ruiz was the top scorer with the Galaxy - where he played alongside the US internationals Cobi Jones and Alexi Lalas - with 15 goals last season.

"We have invited Carlos over to come and try out English football with us," said the Wolves manager, Dave Jones. "He is one of the leading goalscorers in America's Major League and we think he's got the attributes to do well in this country."

The Portsmouth chairman, Milan Mandaric, has confirmed the club will be recruiting during the January transfer window.

"We are looking at three or four players. Three is the absolute minimum," he said. "That's a goalkeeper, midfielder and striker, with the possibility of an additional defender. What Harry Redknapp [the manager] needs now is experience - players who can help immediately. We need a striker. We've lost Toddy [Svetoslav Todorov] and we're not scoring enough."

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