McAteer opts for Liverpool

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The Independent Online

Jason McAteer pledged his future to Liverpool last night and revealed that Kenny Dalglish, who he has spurned, was the man who started his love affair with the Merseyside club.

The Bolton midfield player opted for the Kop instead of Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal in a frantic pounds 4.5m chase, selecting them because of his devotion down the years rather than the superior cash on offer at Ewood Park.

The Republic of Ireland international said: "It was a difficult decision mainly because of Kenny. It's his fault that I am so passionate about Liverpool.

"We talked football for a couple of hours and when it came to finances I just left the room. It was the same with Roy Evans, we discussed their system and where I could fit in.

"Neither club could guarantee I would get a game or say where I would definitely be playing but I didn't expect that."

Blackburn are unhappy with the way Bolton allowed Liverpool and Arsenal into the McAteer hunt and are playing their own games over Bolton's unsettled captain, Alan Stubbs.

Rovers may now attempt to lower his pounds 4.5m price. This is a risky exercise as the Arsenal manager, Bruce Rioch, is waiting to re-enter the fray if the valuation drops.

Francis Lee, the Manchester City chairman, said he will not reach for the cheque book to lift his ailing club out of trouble.