Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has angered the PSV Eindhoven chairman, Harry van Raaij, by inviting the striker Arjen Robben to Old Trafford without telling the Dutch club.
The teenage forward was shown round Old Trafford and United's Carrington training complexby Ferguson last week, to the fury of Van Raaij who had not been notified of the striker's trip to England.
"I knew of United's interest in him. I passed that information on to Robben's family at the time," Van Raaij said. "I had at least expected a call from the Robben about the visit and I had also expected a call from United. But it seems that with Ferguson that a leopard never loses its spots."
Van Raaij was also angered by Ferguson's approach during negotiations for Ruud van Nistelrooy and is now expected to increase the asking price for Robben, who turns 20 on 23 January, as relations between the clubs cools. PSV want in the region of £15m for the striker, and Van Raaij said: "Manchester United could buy his signed shirt for £5m, nothing more."
Robben, however, is keen to sign, probably in the next few weeks, and liked what he saw during his "secret" trip. He said: "I expected an industrial dump, but it was really great and modern. The stadium and training complex are fantastic, of course. Old Trafford is really impressive."
Tottenham Hotspur hope to sign the England goalkeeper Paul Robinson for £1.5mfrom relegation rivals Leeds United and the club's caretaker manager, David Pleat, will test the financial crisis at Elland Road with an offer shortly.
Leeds had been prepared to sell Robinson before the season began when only his personal demands stopped a move to Aston Villa. Now the Yorkshire club will try to fight to keep him, but may be unable to if they are forced into administration before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.
Tottenham, looking for a new first-choice goalkeeper in place of Kasey Keller to boost their Premiership survival chances, would like to complete the transfer quickly, but may have to wait until Leeds sort out their affairs before their 19 January deadline for finding new investors.
The Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, has been frustrated in his attempt to sign Muzzy Izzet after Leicester City rejected a £500,000 offer for their midfielder. Souness has also had a £50,000 bid for the Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman turned down.
The Bolton Wanderers manager, Sam Allardyce, plans to give his new signing, the Spanish striker Javi Moreno, his debut against Manchester United on Wednesday.
Moreno, whose loan move from from Atletico Madrid was, ironically, pushed through in time for the match by the Elite Sports agency of Jason Ferguson, the son of the United manager, is fit enough to start on the bench.
Allardyce said: "We are hoping to rekindle his career as we have done with many of our signings. He looks fit and should not take as long to adjust as some."
Wigan Athletic have made a club record £1.75m bid for the West Bromwich Albion striker Jason Roberts who has been on loan at Portsmouth. It is the second time this season that the Wigan manager, Paul Jewell, has attempted to sign Robberts, who snubbed the Latics for Pompey five months ago.Reuse content