Royle rolls out red carpet in chase for £6m Ehiogu

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The Independent Online

Manchester City are ready to pay a club record fee of £6m for Ugo Ehiogu but are facing competition from Sunderland for the Aston Villa defender's signature.

Manchester City are ready to pay a club record fee of £6m for Ugo Ehiogu but are facing competition from Sunderland for the Aston Villa defender's signature.

Joe Royle, however, will work hard to persuade Ehiogu that his future lies at Maine Road while his counterpart at the Stadium of Light, Peter Reid, increases his efforts to lure the centre-half to Wearside after failing to sign the Rangers captain, Lorenzo Amoruso.

City's other transfer target is Jan Koller, but Royle is unwilling to improve on the £4.5m sum offered to Anderlecht for the Czech Republic striker.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have accepted Leicester City's £5m fee for the striker Ade Akinbiyi. Akinbiyi, currently on a pre-season tour, must now agree terms with Leicester.

Leicester's former manager, Martin O'Neill, has lost out to the French side Bordeaux in his attempt to sign the Belgium midfielder Marc Wilmots for Celtic. The Schalke 04 player flew to France to finalise a £2m transfer yesterday.

Having secured the services of Paul Gascoigne on Monday, the Everton manager Walter Smith is considering adding the Israeli Idan Tal to the club's remoulded midfield. Out of contract since leaving the Spanish side Merida, Tal has joined Everton on their pre-season training camp in Italy and would cost £750,000.

Brad Friedel's tenure at Liverpool may soon be ended in favour of a move to a Mexican club, Tigres, while the Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, who offloaded Gascoigne, is signing the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley.

Mark Draper has completed his £1.25m switch from Aston Villa to Southampton. Draper, 29, signed a four-year contract in a deal which could rise to £1.5m depending on appearances. The Portuguese winger Luis Boa Morte may leave The Dell after joining Fulham on their pre-season training camp in France while the Villa full-back Mark Delaney has signed a new four-year contract.

A proposal to abolish the Fifa executive committee vice-presidency - a post traditionally held by Britain - will be discussed at next month's congress, the sport's world governing body said yesterday. Four Caribbean federations have indicated that they will call for the post, which is rotated through the four British associations and currently held by Scotland's David Will, to be scrapped. That would reduce the number of executive committee vice-presidents to six, two of whom already represent Uefa, the European governing body.

The proposal calls for the position to become that of an executive committee member and to be allocated to Uefa. Britain has held the vice-presidency in recognition of its historic place in the game.

Manchester United will continue their efforts to persuade Sir Alex Ferguson to stay at Old Trafford beyond 2002 even though he claims he is determined to leave. United are not reading too much into their manager's claims yesterday that he has made his mind up to quit Old Trafford when his contract expires in two years' time. Peter Kenyon, the new chief executive, said: "He's our most successful manager and I want him to stay."

St Johnstone hope to sign Mohammad Sylla after he impressed during the friendly game with Norwich on Saturday. The 23-year-old former Le Havre and Le Mans defender has won six A caps for French Guyana and will move as a free agent.

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