Merseyside vies for Collymore

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The Independent Online
Football

PHIL SHAW

Stan Collymore, Nottingham Forest's England striker, will meet officials of both Liverpool and Everton tomorrow before deciding which of the two to join for a British-record fee of pounds 8.5m.

With Aston Villa dropping out of the running and Arsenal yet to turn their interest into a formal bid, the Merseyside rivals are so far the only clubs to meet an asking price by which Forest have stuck rigidly. Collymore, 24, favours Liverpool, but Everton hope that Joe Royle's return from holiday today will tip the balance while Roy Evans remains on his summer break.

Frank Clark, the Forest manager, said yesterday: ''We had a meeting this morning and Stan is adamant that he wants to go elsewhere. Stan goes on holiday at the weekend and we'd like it finalised.''

Liverpool previously offered cash plus players, with Nigel Clough, Mark Walters, Mark Wright and Paul Stewart on offer, but are now prepared to pay the full amount. The last player who had to choose between Anfield and Goodison Park, Ian Snodin, picked Everton when he left Leeds in 1986.

Arsenal, whose new manager Bruce Rioch is an admirer of Collymore, may yet exploit Forest's desire to recruit Kevin Campbell in a bid to make the former Crystal Palace and Southend player his first signing. However, with the pounds 2.5m-rated Campbell out of contract, the Forest manager Frank Clark is aware that he could secure Collymore's replacement for less at a tribunal.

Paul Ince arrived in Milan last night for discussions with the Internazionale president, Massimo Moratti, over his projected pounds 8.5m move from Manchester United. Meanwhile, United knocked back Derby, who had hoped to lure the Old Trafford captain, Steve Bruce, to the Baseball Ground as player-manager.

Sheffield Wednesday expect to confirm David Pleat as their manager today, despite having failed to agree to Luton's demand for pounds 300,000 in lieu of the final year of his contract.

Birmingham have accepted a pounds 2m offer from Seville for their Portuguese winger, Jose Dominguez. A pounds 160,000 buy from Benfica, Dominguez is said to be homesick. Barry Fry, the Birmingham manager, said that if the sale went ahead he would go for Kennet Andersson, the Swedish international striker available for pounds 1.5m from Caen.

England have slipped four places to 22nd in Fifa's world rankings - the top five are Brazil, Italy, Spain, Norway and Germany. The four weekends on which all Premiership games will be postponed to aid Terry Venables' preparations for the European Championship were confirmed yesterday as 2-3 September, 7-8 October, 11-12 November and 20-21 April.

Lazio's president, Sergio Cragnotti, has resigned citing "unacceptable pressure" from supporters which forced him to abandon the pounds 9.8m transfer of Giuseppe Signori to Parma. The Romanian striker, Florin Raducioiu, has dismissed reports claiming he is to join Rangers from Espanol of Barcelona.

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