Newcastle chase Distin

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The Independent Football

Newcastle United are in talks with the Paris St-Germain centre half Sylvain Distin, who was a guest as the Magpies went out of Europe against the French club Troyes on Tuesday and stayed to discuss personal terms. Distin would rather join Newcastle than Bolton Wanderers, who have had a £4m offer for him accepted by PSG.

Newcastle's striker Carl Cort will be out of action for another three months with knee ligament damage after picking up his third serious injury in a year during a practice match last Wednesday. An initial scan showed that he had damaged the knee cartilage, but a specialist confirmed that there was also a ligament problem which will mean an extended lay-off.

Ipswich Town have completed the loan signing of the Argentinian midfielder Sixto Peralta from Internazionale of Italy. He is expected to be available for the club's home game with Charlton on Saturday.

The Ipswich chairman, David Sheepshanks, said: "Following this initial season there is a possibility of extending the arrangement when his loan contact expires in June 2002."

The Suffolk side's manager, George Burley, added: "He is a very talented young player who can play in any position along the midfield."

The Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger is flying to America in a quest to resolve his latest knee injury. While his team-mates celebrate reaching the first group stage of the Champions' League by defeating Haka on Tuesday, the Czech international will go back to see the specialist who repaired his cruciate ligament injury last season. The 27-year-old was out for four months after damaging his knee during a defeat by Leeds in November, but returned in time to feature in Liverpool's FA Cup and Uefa Cup wins.

The Werder Bremen midfielder Marco Bode will miss Germany's crucial World Cup qualifier against England after suffering a thigh injury.

The versatile Bode sustained the muscle tear during training with Bremen, and it is expected to take three weeks to heal. The 32-year-old, who featured in Germany's 5-2 friendly victory over Hungary last week, has been ruled out of coach Rudi Völler's plans. Germany lead Group Nine by six points from England and will qualify for next year's World Cup if they draw in Munich.

The Copa America winners, Colombia, jump eight places to sixth in the new Fifa world rankings. They are now close behind fifth-placed Germany, and at their highest position since February 1997.

The top five remain unchanged, with France leading the way from Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany. England dropped one place to 15th following their friendly defeat to the Netherlands.

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