Leeds set to renew talks on Ferdinand

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Leeds United will this week renew their attempts to sign the unsettled West Ham defender Rio Ferdinand with a £10m cash offer for the 21-year-old.

Leeds United will this week renew their attempts to sign the unsettled West Ham defender Rio Ferdinand with a £10m cash offer for the 21-year-old.

Despite recent denials by the Elland Road club's chairman, Peter Ridsdale, Leeds are believed to have made West Ham a cash-plus players offer for the England international on at least one occasion this summer.

Ferdinand is said to be willing to move to Elland Road rather than look abroad in an effort to advance his career at international level after being left out of the England squad for Euro 2000. Leeds are now confident they can close their biggest deal - and one that would be a record for an English defender - in the next few days.

West Ham are under growing pressure to sell Ferdinand and would prefer a £10m fee, instead of less money plus Leeds squad players, like Michael Duberry or Danny Mills.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, has expressed his unwillingness to sell Ferdinand, but he may have no alternative but to relent on this occasion, if he receives money to strengthen his team. The Hammers yesterday announced that work will begin this season on a £20m redevelopment of three stands at Upton Park, which will increase the capacity to 40,000.

Ferdinand has also told West Ham that the time may be right to go. He had been linked with leading European clubs, but he has told friends that Leeds would be a good career move.

Another defender on the move could be Middlesbrough's Christian Ziege, after Liverpool yesterday made a formal bid of £5.5m for the German international. Even if Boro reject the bid, Ziege is believed to have a clause in his contract that allows him to speak to any club which offers more than £5m for his services. The Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, said last week he had spoken to Ziege and had been assured that the player was happy to stay.

Shaun Goater needs a knee operation and may miss the start of Manchester City's Premier League campaign. Goater, the top scorer in the club's First Division promotion season, hurt his knee during City's 4-0 victory over Linfield in Belfast on Saturday and had minor surgery on Sunday night.

Manchester City;'s manager, Joe Royle, said: "Shaun has had to have some work done. It's nothing major, just a tidy-up job, but he may be out for about three weeks."

Goater will struggle to be fit for City's opening games, but he has been able to do most of his pre-season training work. The 29-year-old admitted on the club's website: "It will be very difficult for me to be ready for the start of the season. I will have to wait for the knee to recover from the operation and then I will be back at square one."

Royle hopes Anderlecht fail to qualify for a Champions' League place, which would boost his hopes of buying the Czech Republic striker, Jan Koller. City's £4.5m offer is still the biggest that the Belgians have received and the club could need the money if they fail to find a way past Porto to reach the élite competition.

Royle is still determined, meanwhile, to sign Aston Villa's Ugo Ehiogu for £6m, but if he loses his leading striker he will have to move into the transfer market for a replacement up front first.

The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, has dropped his interest in the midfielder, Claude Makelele, after being quoted a price of £12m for the Frenchman. Reid was keen on bringing the Celta Vigo player to Wearside, but he has balked at the prospect of paying a fee which would have more than tripled the club's record transfer payment.

The Bristol Rovers striker Jason Roberts is set to sign for West Bromwich Albion for £2m. The 22-year-old, who scored 24 goals for Rovers last season, has yet to agree personal terms with Albion and must pass a medical but, if completed, the deal would equal Rovers' club record sale, set when Barry Hayles joined Fulham.

Dele Adebola's move to Las Palmas is off after the Spanish club's doctors failed him on medical grounds. The Birmingham City striker flew home when Las Palmas said they were not happy with they aftermath of an old knee injury.

Now Queen's Park Rangers and Preston may step up their interest in the £1.2m-rated striker.

Burnley have signed the midfielder Kevin Ball from Fulham on a two-year contract. The 35-year-old former Sunderland captain has moved to Turf Moor on a free transfer, the club's fourth summer signing.

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