Harford tries to lure Bierhoff

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers are prepared to offer the German international striker Oliver Bierhoff a pounds 2m-a-year deal to persuade him to forsake Italy for England.

However, Bierhoff, watched by the Rovers manager, Ray Harford against Internazionale at the weekend, said: "I see my future in Italy. If Bayern Munich, Blackburn or Parma wanted me, I would choose Parma."

After firing three blanks in four games, Blackburn's need for a new striker to replace Alan Shearer is obvious. Harford has one advantage over Parma in that they cannot sign Bierhoff until November, due to restrictions on transfers in the Italian league, whereas Harford can buy him now. Ultimately, Chris Sutton may solve the problems for Blackburn - he is now back to full fitness after an ankle injury and could figure in tonight's home game against Derby.

If he should fail to entice bierhoff, Harford may again turn his attention to the Swedish international Martin Dahlin, who has said he is determined to make a go of it in Italy with Roma.

Nottingham Forest's Andrea Silenzi, who has not scored a league goal since signing from Torino for pounds 1.8m last summer, may not be going back to Italy yet. Verona and Atalanta, the clubs believed to have asked about the striker, appear to have shelved their interest. Verona have signed the Brazilian striker Renaldo from Palmeiras, while the Milan winger Gianluigi Lentini has joined Atalanta on loan.

England must overhaul a 2-1 first leg defeat to Spain in Montilla yesterday if they are to qualify for next June's women's European Championship finals. To protect a two-goal lead, Spain relied heavily on the former Arsenal goalkeeper Rosa Serra, who denied England five clear-cut chances. Hope Powell gave her side hope for the second leg at Prenton Park on 29 September with a 63rd minute goal.