Liverpool finally seal Berger deal


Liverpool's summer long pursuit of the Czech Republic's brilliant playmaker, Patrik Berger, ended yesterday afternoon at Anfield, the stadium where he first caught Roy Evans's eye playing for his country during Euro 96.

The 23-year-old Borussia Dortmund man signed a pounds 3.25m deal, pending a successful medical and work permit application. Liverpool are confident that the deal will go through before the European Cup-Winners' Cup deadline. With injuries to left-sided players Steve Harkness, Rob Jones and Mark Kennedy, they are banking on the arrival of Berger.

Bruce Rioch's hopes of making the Blackburn captain, Tim Sherwood, his first major summer signing for Arsenal has hit a snag. Rovers have run into injury problems in midfield and may be forced to reject Rioch's renewed pounds 3m offer. Garry Flitcroft has an ankle injury and Billy McKinlay is troubled by a knee problem, leaving just Lars Bohinen as cover for Sherwood.

Coventry's manager Ron Atkinson expects to make the Standard Liege right- back Regis Genaux his next big money capture in a pounds 1.7m deal. Fellow Midlanders Wolves have been given permission to talk to Everton's Neville Southall, but Peter Shilton has told Birmingham he is not interested in their job of goalkeeping coach: the former England keeper, who is 46, intends to carry on playing.

Tottenham are prepared to risk losing out on signing Tranmere's out-of- contract defender Tony Thomas rather than pay what they believe is an inflated price for him. The First Division club are believed to want nearly pounds 1m for Thomas, who has made nearly 300 appearances for Rovers.

"If necessary we could go to a transfer tribunal - with the condition of being able to pull out if we don't agree with the verdict," said Gerry Francis, the Spurs manager. His other full-backs, Dean Austin, Justin Edinburgh, David Kerslake and Clive Wilson, are all injured.

Gary Pallister, the Manchester United central defender, will miss the start of the season after sustaining a hamstring injury in the 3-0 defeat against Internazionale in Milan on Wednesday. The English champions, led by Eric Cantona, rarely threatened their old boy Paul Ince's side.

Much was made in the Italian press of Christophe Djorkaeff's performance in comparison with that of his countryman, Cantona, omitted from France's Euro 96 squad. The unanimous verdict went to Djorkaeff, with one headline proclaiming: "More whistles than applause for the phantom of Cantona".

Newcastle United - minus their world record signing Alan Shearer - stormed to a 5-0 victory over the Singapore All Stars in the National Stadium. Shearer watched from the sidelines as the man he has has deposed in the No 9 shirt, Les Ferdinand, opened the scoring, with two further goals apiece from Paul Kitson and David Ginola.

More than 500 journalists from all over the world are expected to attend Shearer's offical welcome on Tyneside next Tuesday, when a special stage at the north end of the ground will be erected.

West Ham are to report Torquay's new signing, Jon Gittens, to the Football Association after their pounds 1.5m recruit, Florin Raducioiu, was left with blood streaming down his face from a clash in Wednesday night's "friendly" at Plainmoor. "It was a terrible incident," said Harry Redknapp, the Hammers manager.

Under orders to cut wages and to raise money in the transfer market following relegation from the first division, Luton's manager Lennie Lawrence has sold Norwegian striker Vidar Riseth to Linz of Austria. Luton will collect pounds 90,000, which represents a pounds 10,000 loss on the player.

Lawrence is hoping to collect pounds 450,000 from Sheffield Wednesday for midfielder Scott Oakes, who is set to rejoin his former manager David Pleat at Sheffield Wednesday. Further payments could bring the total fee to pounds 700,000. The French striker Jean-Pierre Papin has joined Bordeaux on a two-year contract from the German side Bayern Munich.

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