Newcastle warn Sporting over Viana bid delay

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The Independent Online

Newcastle have warned Sporting Lisbon they will invite offers for the midfielder Hugo Viana if the Portuguese club do not come up with an acceptable bid by this weekend.

Newcastle have warned Sporting Lisbon they will invite offers for the midfielder Hugo Viana if the Portuguese club do not come up with an acceptable bid by this weekend.

A delegation from St James' Park travelled to Portugal yesterday seeking a firm answer from the club who took the 22-year-old back on a season's loan last summer, with his temporary deal due to expire tomorrow. And unless Newcastle receive a firm offer they are ready to listen to other bids as they attempt to offload a player that their former manager Sir Bobby Robson paid Sporting £8.5m for in the summer of 2002.

Viana has been a huge success at the club where he made his name after two desperately disappointing seasons on Tyneside, and although Newcastle have the option of recalling him, it is one not favoured by either club or player.

The Sporting manager, Jose Peseiro, is keen to keep the Portuguese international as he attempts to steer his side to the Uefa Cup final at their own Jose Alvalade Stadium after taking a 2-1 semi-final, first leg lead over AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night, a game in which Viana appeared as a second-half substitute.

However, it is understood that Sporting, who knocked Newcastle out of the competition in the quarter-finals, are not prepared to meet the Magpies' valuation. Newcastle are keen to recoup as much money as possible to help fund Graeme Souness's summer rebuilding programme.

With the club likely to take losses on Laurent Robert and Craig Bellamy if they manage to move them on, they will hope to attract sizeable offers for Viana who was attracting major interest from clubs in Serie A when he moved to St James' Park.

In Italy, the Argentina and Internazionale midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron has admitted to appearing in a piece of film in which his former Parma team-mate Fabio Cannavaro is seen using a drip on the eve of the 1999 Uefa Cup final.

"You can see me, I was in the room," Veron said. "But you can't see that I did anything."

The film, shown on Italian state broadcaster RAI Due's current affairs programme, Full Stop and From the Top, shows Cannavaro relaxing in his hotel room the evening before the game against Marseilles in Moscow which the Italian club won 3-0.

Cannavaro, who now plays for Juventus, is shown inserting a drip into his arm which his lawyer confirmed contained Neoton, a drug used in cardiac surgery to protect the heart, that is not on the World Anti Doping Agency's list of banned substances.

Veron said Neoton use is common. "It's used when there are a lot of matches in a short space of time and it helps you recover more quickly," he said.

"We had just played the final of the Italian Cup, I think it was two or three days earlier, plus there was the journey to Russia. Some players decided to make use of this, which is also something the doctor knows about."

"All the teams use it," Veron added. "It is something that is used and has been used and to do so is firstly a decision of the player and then the doctor."

* North Korea have been ordered by Fifa, the sport's world governing body, to play their next World Cup qualifying game against Japan at a neutral venue and behind closed doors after crowd trouble followed their recent defeat by Iran.