Roque Santa Cruz is still in Manchester City's sights, despite Blackburn Rovers having apparently told the player that it will take a staggering £25m bid to release him. Santa Cruz applied further pressure for a move yesterday by questioning their decision to reject a £16m bid last week. "You hear all the time that the club have asked for £20m and I don't know if City are going to offer that or if they are going to increase their bid," he told a Paraguayan newspaper. "For $35-37m (around £25m) they [Blackburn] said that I will be allowed to leave." The subject of Santa Cruz's future was on the agenda at a board meeting at Ewood Park yesterday.
The quest to sign Santa Cruz has not precluded City upping their £8.5m bid for West Ham's Craig Bellamy as well. Bellamy's representatives met West Ham yesterday and are understood to have said that at the age of 29 he should not be held back by a valuation of £15m, the figure at which the Hammers are ready to sell.
Ian Herbert and Jason Burt
Kinnear holds emergency talks
Surveying an injury update that grows longer by the game, a transfer kitty that has suddenly disappeared and a fixture list in March and April that is not forgiving, Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear held an emergency meeting last night with the club's managing director, Derek Llambias, and owner Mike Ashley in attendance via the telephone. "We have a meeting at 6pm," said Kinnear, who is aware Newcastle face a relegation battle despite being 11th in the table. "Mike will be on the phone in London. We will go through all the ideas we have for players and put the ball in Mike's court and see what the outcome is. We need funds. I have brought the meeting forward because of the urgency of the situation."
So far Newcastle have only Peter Lovenkrands on a week's trial, though Kinnear said two loan deals costing £750,000 are in place for two midfielders, "one Italian, one Argentine." Newcastle host Hull tonight in an FA Cup replay missing 11 senior players.
McLeish admits Boyd deal appears dead
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has played down the prospect of signing Rangers striker Kris Boyd. McLeish suggested earlier that talks over the proposed move had been resurrected but said yesterday: "The deal would appear to be dead. I can't change anything about the offer we put to Kris. If he doesn't want the terms, I'll walk away, but I can't say the Boyd deal is finished until I do business elsewhere."
Lita stays put to dash Sheffield United bid
Reading have ended Sheffield United's hopes of signing Leroy Lita insisting the striker will stay at the Madejski Stadium. United made a bid for Lita, which the Blades claim was accepted, but could not agree terms with the 24-year-old and Lita has confirmed he wants to stay with the Royals. United are looking to replace James Beattie who joined Stoke for a fee which could rise to £3.5m.
Rumour mill: Tales from the web
After two shocking air shots at the weekend in Chelsea's humping at the hands of Manchester United apparently the club are happy to get rid of Didier Drogba back to Marseilles. They must be hoping the powers-that-be at his former club missed Sunday's match at Old Trafford. Le Provence
Real Madrid are purportedly willing to play nice in the transfer market for once and are willing to offer Argentina international striker Javier Saviola to Wigan in exchange for the Latics much sought-after Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia. El Comercio
Harry Redknapp only wants players willing to "put their head in where it hurts" at Spurs. Apparently this includes the hirsute Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt. Goal.com
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