Kanchelskis pleads for a solution

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Andrei Kanchelskis defied Manchester United's demand that he return to Old Trafford by reporting to Everton yesterday and announced: "I want to play football."

The 26-year-old Ukrainian winger flew back into Britain on Thursday after appearing for Russia in their 6-0 European Championship win in Finland, with his pounds 5m move to Goodison officially off.

While the Goodison club have called on the Football Association to arbitrate on the dispute - arising out of a claim for pounds 1.1m from his former club, Shakhtyor Donetsk - United ordered the player to report at their Cliff training headquarters. Kanchelskis instead arrived at Everton's Bellefield complex.

Then, speaking through an interpreter, Kanchelskis said: "I need to play football. I want to play and I'm hoping and praying that Everton and United will be able to sort this out over the weekend."

He added: "The situation is that I have signed a contract with Everton and it's now a question of money being paid to solve that problem. But it would be very tough for me to go back to Manchester. I've moved out of my Manchester United house and signed a contract here. The problem is the contract between United and Donetsk. I don't see why Everton should pay."

Earlier in the day, Kanchelskis had been quoted in a Russian newspaper as saying he was prepared to listen to offers from other clubs and indicated he would only stay at Old Trafford "in extreme circumstances".

He said: "I intend to discuss the situation with my lawyer in the immediate future. He says this could drag on for 10 weeks."

Gerry Francis, the Tottenham manager, is monitoring the situation, but Everton are refusing to concede defeat over the wrangle and have asked the Football Association to arbitrate.

Martin O'Neill made his first move into the transfer market since taking over as Norwich manager during the summer when he signed the West Ham midfield player Matthew Rush yesterday. Norwich will pay an initial pounds 330,000, with the fee rising to pounds 500,000 after a number of appearances. Rush, 24, goes straight into the squad for today's game with Sunderland.

Rush played 55 games for West Ham, scoring five goals, but was never able to command a regular place. Peter Storrie, the West Ham managing director, said: "Matthew has not had enough games, and, of course, we have just bought Stan Lazaridis and Robbie Slater."

n Charlton have lifted the all-ticket ruling on today's First Division match with Birmingham and say fans of both clubs can gain admission at the turnstiles.