Poborksy in United talks

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The Independent Online
Manchester United are closing in on the Czech Republic star Karel Poborsky. The club's legal director, Maurice Watkins, was locked in talks yesterday with officials from Poborsky's club Slavia Prague. Watkins has already had one round of meetings with more negotiations to come, according to sources in the Czech Republic.

He flew to Prague yesterday in a bid to try and tie up a deal for the 24-year-old midfielder who played a starring role in the Czech Republic's progress to the final of Euro 96.

Poborsky has indicated he would be interested in a move to Old Trafford but he still has two years of his present contract to run and Slavia are believed to be looking for pounds 3.5m to cover their loss.

The United manager, Alex Ferguson, monitored his progress throughout Euro 96 and immediately declared an interest after the Wembley defeat by Germany.

Watkins was due to travel to Prague last week but a slight hitch in the arrangements delayed negotiations for seven days. Now Ferguson will be anxious that a deal goes through sooner rather than later with the United players reporting back for training at The Cliff next week.

l Arsenal have ordered Bruce Rioch to sign a contract as their manager before the start of the new season. Despite taking up the position at Highbury more than a year ago, the former Scotland midfielder has still not put pen to paper - and the Arsenal chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, has made it clear that he would like an end to the uncertainty. "I would like to feel that Bruce is fully committed to Arsenal," Hill-Wood said yesterday.