Sunderland and Fulham await Crouch decision

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The Independent Football

Peter Crouch will give Sunderland and Fulham a decision on his proposed £12m transfer from Portsmouth early next week with the Wearsiders said to be marginal favourites at this stage. There remains the possibility that Tottenham, managed by Harry Redknapp who took Crouch to Portsmouth, could disrupt any transfer, but as of last night Spurs had not bid for the 28 year-old striker.

Crouch has met Sunderland and Fulham managers Steve Bruce and Roy Hodgson within the past 48 hours and has agreed identical personal terms with both clubs. It is understood that only Sunderland have met Portsmouth's asking £12m price, but Fulham have indicated their willingness to match that.

Geographically Fulham would be more convenient for Crouch but he has no reservations about moving to the North-east if necessary and was impressed by the Sunderland set-up when he travelled there on Thursday morning. Bruce has expressed cautious optimism.

The former Liverpool player Steve McMahon claimed yesterday that his Singapore-based Profitable Group have made ''a realistic offer'' to Mike Ashley for Newcastle United. Were it to be the £100m Ashley wants, then a sale would be in progress and that it is being denied suggests Profitable have not offered enough in Ashley's eyes. McMahon said he was hoping for a response yesterday.

''Our people have been in London all week working with lawyers and attorneys,'' McMahon said. ''And we have made them a realistic offer. Make no doubt about it, the money is in place – we are for real.''

Profitable would re-appoint Alan Shearer as manager were their bid successful.

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