Souness fights off rivals by setting up Yorke talks

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The Independent Football

The Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness, wants to talk over a transfer with the out-of-favour Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke this week – to forestall any bids from Sunderland and Aston Villa.

Souness has moved fast for Yorke and plans to agree a £4m fee with United. The Rovers manager had previously talked over a deal with Yorke, but could not make an offer until his club were safe from relegation.

The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, wants Yorke, but the club still need one point against Derby in their final game on 12 May to ensure their Premiership survival. The Villa manager, Graham Taylor, is being frustrated by uncertainty over Angel, who is looking to leave but has yet to tie up a move to Valencia.

The chance for Yorke to team up with his close friend, Andy Cole, at Blackburn would be an attraction and would help to keep the club's record buy happy. Cole has got over his early reservations about the move to Ewood Park and Yorke's arrival would answer his plea to Souness to sign high-quality players.

Stuart McCall will this week have talks with the Sheffield United manager, Neil Warnock, about extending his career in the First Division. The veteran midfielder had a glorious send-off for Bradford City at the weekend in front of a crowd of almost 20,000 in his benefit game with Rangers. But McCall wants to play on and hopes to agree a one-year deal with Bradford's Yorkshire rivals.

Nigel Doughty has been given the all-clear to take over as Nottingham Forest chairman and invest £5m in the First Division club. Approximately 300 shareholders yesterday attended an extraordinary general meeting, and 74 per cent voted in favour of accepting Doughty's offer of investment. The vote means that Doughty now controls the football club and takes over from Eric Barnes as chairman with immediate effect. Doughty is now heading towards owning 85 per cent of the club, with the plc owning the other 15 per cent.

The Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, has rekindled the debate over salary capping, insisting it is the only way to prevent clubs going bankrupt. Ellis believes an American-style ceiling on salaries, hitherto fiercely resisted by English football, is now essential.

"The wages of professional players have got completely out of hand," said Ellis, speaking at the Soccerex conference in Dubai. "Some players are being paid £60,000 to £80,000 a week, and we've got to stop the escalation because there's only one eventual result – and that's that more clubs would go bust."