Ince to decide his future at end of season

Click to follow
Paul Ince is to decide whether to stay with Internazionale at the end of the season after already having rejected an offer from Arsenal.

The England midfielder's contract at Inter, where he moved last year from Manchester United, runs to 1999 and he has become a firm favourite with spectators at the San Siro.

"Arsenal came looking for me about a month ago but I said 'no'," Ince said yesterday.

He left open whether the current season would be his last with Inter, saying he would meet the chairman, Massimo Moratti, at the end of the season to "clarify my position and see what's best to do".

"I'm not interested in making long-term plans now. I'll decide my future in four or five months' time," he said.

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has indicated that he might be interested in buying Ince if he became available.

Sandro Sabatini, a spokesman for Inter, said "Ince will remain with us for this season and I don't think he will go to Arsenal. We are very satisfied with him. We don't want to put Ince on the market."

Ince has been the subject of racial abuse from opposing fans and has a poor disciplinary record in Italy.

He was given a four-match ban on Monday for protesting with foul language and abusive gestures after he was sent off during Inter's 1-1 league draw with Reggiana on December 22, his third red card of the season.

Ince said he was surprised by the toughness of the suspension but not by the sending-off.

"Stop writing that I have problems with Italian referees. The sending- off against Reggiana was right and any English referee would have taken the same decision. Four matches is a bit excessive though and frankly I expected less," he said.

Ince also denied Italian media reports his family are unhappy in Italy and wanted to return to England. "It's not true at all. Claire, Thomas and I are perfectly happy in Italy," he said.

Arsenal have nine players either doubtful or already ruled out of the FA Cup third-round tie with Sunderland at Highbury tomorrow.

Their top scorer, Ian Wright, is suspended, while David Seaman David Platt, Lee Dixon and Remi Garde are all out injured. Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Merson, Tony Adams and Ray Parlour will require treatment for injuries before Wenger can piece together his team.

Wenger has already opened a disciplinary inquest into why Arsenal have collected four red cards in the last eight matches.

Substitute John Hartson is the latest to land a two-match ban after being sent off in the last minute against Middlesbrough on Wednesday for directing a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse at the referee, Mike Reed.

Hartson, who has been ordered to a meeting with Wenger this morning before training, is now banned from the fourth round should Arsenal make it past Sunderland.

Birmingham City have offered Stoke City pounds 1.5m for the striker Mike Sheron, while Everton are prepared to pay pounds 1m for Aston Villa's unsettled centre- back Carl Tiler.

Norwich City and Crystal Palace have been charged by the Football Association with misconduct and failure to control their players following the brawl which marred their First Division match on 14 December.

Palace's Kevin Muscat and captain Ray Houghton were sent off by the referee, Kevin Lynch, after an 88th minute brawl involving all 22 players in a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road.

An FA spokesman Steve Double said the charges had been lodged after viewing a video of the brawl and taking into account Lynch's report on the incident.

The Manchester City manager, Frank Clark, has signed Richard Money from Nottingham Forest as his right-hand man. The former Liverpool full-back was a coach at Forest under Clark, but has followed his manager to Maine Road where he will be his assistant alongside Asa Hartford.