Hoddle's move for Wright rejected

NICK DUXBURY

Glenn Hoddle's phone call to Arsenal asking for Ian Wright's home number met with a unequivocal rebuff from Bruce Rioch. "I told him that Ian is not on the transfer list and is not for sale," the Arsenal manager said.

Hoddle's interest in taking the Gunners striker and Highbury idol to Chelsea for pounds 2.5m had been aroused by press speculation that Wright's first-team place might not be secure, with Rioch having reportedly been to France to run his eye over Patrice Loko, the Paris St-Germain forward. A scouting outing that Rioch yesterday denied had taken place.

Wright has escaped with a censure by the Football Association over his "little Hitlers" comment about referees. Rioch was "delighted" at the outcome but added the rider that "it's down to Ian as far as discipline is concerned. I think we have seen Cantona address the problem very well to date".

Kevin Keegan, who has been keeping a low profile in advance of Monday's meeting with Manchester United, yesterday broke cover to defend Faustino Asprilla and attack television's role in disciplinary matters.

The Newcastle manager, speaking for the first time since his pounds 7.5m signing was charged with two counts of misconduct following the game against Manchester City, said that trial by television was "a very dangerous road" to go down.

"If it's happening to every other team then that's fine," he said. "But it's not fine if one or two teams are going to be involved, especially as the chances are that it is the top teams which are going to be shown more on television."

As for Asprilla, Keegan will be standing by his man. "After all I'm the guy who went out there and signed him," he said.

Regi Blinker, the Dutch international winger, has agreed a three-and- a-half year contract with Sheffield Wednesday. Blinker, 26, is rated at around pounds 1m by Wednesday, who are now ironing out the financial details with Feyenoord.

Steve Claridge finally completed a pounds 1.2m move to Leicester, complaining that he "wouldn't treat my dog the way I have been treated" by the Birmingham manager, Barry Fry. The Claridge cash did not stay long in Blues' coffers, with Fry spending pounds 500,000 on Andy Legg and Paul Devlin from Notts County.

Southend have have signed the Dutch striker Jeroen Boere from Crystal Palace for pounds 150,000.

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