United call in Fifa to secure fee from Lazio

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The Independent Online

Manchester United are confident Lazio will pay the outstanding balance on Jaap Stam's transfer fee after reporting the Italian side to Fifa for missing an installment.

United have brought in the world football's governing body after the Serie A side defaulted on a £3m instalment of the £16.5m fee for Stam, who moved to Rome at the start of the season.

Lazio are experiencing financial difficulties this season, but United do not expect any further problems with the payment of the remainder of the fee.

United's director of communications, Paddy Harverson, said: "They were late on an installment and so we have taken it up with Fifa. But we are confident that Lazio will pay us our money."

This is not the first time United have had to report a foreign club to Fifa over missed transfer fee payments. They were involved in a long-running wrangle with Benfica a couple of years ago over the Czech international Karel Poborsky's move to the Portuguese side from Old Trafford.

Aston Villa have sealed the signing of the Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch for an initial fee of £5m. Crouch, who earned his first England Under-21s call-up in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Italy at Valley Parade, was given permission to talk to the Premiership club by the new Pompey manager, Harry Redknapp.

The 6ft 7in forward has scored 19 goals for Portsmouth this season since his summer arrival from Queens Park Rangers. The 21-year-old will be available to make his debut for Villa in their match at struggling Bolton in the Premiership on Saturday.

Crouch has agreed a four-year deal after successfully completing a medical. He is expected to go straight into the squad to face Bolton and his move is another indication that Taylor will pin his hopes on youth as he strives to rebuild the squad.

The Welsh international Mark Delaney last week also signed a new four-year contract and the Germany Under-21 midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger is close to agreeing a new deal.

Crouch's arrival could signal the departure of Juan Pablo Angel. Taylor has already admitted that he is facing an uphill battle to hold onto the unsettled Colombian international, who now looks likely to move to a club in Europe at the end of the season.

Redknapp has played down talk of a move for the Bournemouth captain Eddie Howe before the transfer deadline. Howe has been linked with a £500,000 south-coast switch but Redknapp, who this week took over from the sacked Graham Rix, will not be hurried.

The Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is making a deadline move for Wigan's Australian goalkeeper John Filan – who could go straight into the team to face Villa this weekend.

Filan signed for Wigan from Blackburn just a few months ago but is joining Wanderers because the Bolton No 1, Jussi Jaaskelainen, faces a ban to leave them in a crisis.

The experienced Filan could get the nod although Kevin Poole is also available.

The Filan move should let Steve Banks leave Bolton for Stockport in a permanent move after a miserable season at The Reebok.

The Second Division side Swindon have been granted a new period of administration to help the club resolve their financial crisis. A High Court decision on Wednesday morning granted the Robins a six-week period in administration. This allows the club's directors longer to work on solving the financial crisis without fear of action from creditors.

The Preston manager Kelham O'Hanlon is poised to sign old boy Gareth Ainsworth in a shock move from Wimbledon.

Ainsworth is set to re-sign for North End today on loan – and bring back memories of a successful spell at the club as a hopeful teenager.

Ainsworth has been dogged by injury since joining Wimbledon in a £2m move, but he hopes to prove his worth in Preston's promotion bid.

Kevin Gallacher is being thrown the chance to sign for Sheffield Wednesday after an injury-jinxed season.

The former Scotland international striker has been released by Preston but will join Wednesday to help them stay up – and improve his fitness. Gallacher has played just a handful of games for Preston since leaving Newcastle last summer.

The Charlton striker Charlie MacDonald has joined Second Division Colchester on loan until the end of the season. MacDonald, 21, who came through as a trainee with Charlton, recently returned to The Valley following a spell on loan at Torquay.

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