Ravanelli's pay packet sinks deal

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Fabrizio Ravanelli's wage demands have a habit of taking the breath away and the Middlesbrough striker yesterday left Everton choking on a request for pounds 50,000 a week.

The pay hike from the pounds 42,000 he is paid at Boro led Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, to pull down the shutters on a pounds 7.5m transfer that would have saved Ravanelli from Nationwide League football, but ended up exasperating Everton supporters and officials.

On the day the club's coffers were enriched by a pounds 2m, three-year sponsorship deal with a mobile phone company, negotiations with the Italian international failed to come up with the right numbers, with Everton reported to be offering only pounds 25,000 a week.

"I contacted Ravanelli's representative because we wanted to sort something out either way," Kendall said. "We put our offer to him and they came back and said `no'. The terms were not agreeable. It's disappointing because we've gone so far, but we've got other targets and we'll start pursuing them."

He will not, however, be pursuing the Danish right-back, Thomas Rytter, while the Israeli captain, Tal Banin, has preferred Brescia to Goodison.

Bolton Wanderers have looked to Spain for more forward power and have offered pounds 3m for the 24-year-old French international striker Nicolas Ouedec of Espanyol.

Dave Bassett's most pressing task is to find a new full-back after Stuart Pearce's sudden decision to leave relegated Nottingham Forest after 12 years. "Any manager would like to have Stuart Pearce playing for them and I'm no different," the Forest manager said. "But he wants to be involved with England in the World Cup next summer and feels he needs to be playing his club football at the highest possible level."

The 35-year-old Pearce, who had three years remaining on a pounds 12,000-per- week contract, has been given a free transfer. "I've had 12 marvellous years which I wouldn't swap for anything, but it's time for me to move on," he said.

Pearce's England team-mate, Matthew Le Tissier, will miss the start of the season, after breaking an arm in a friendly match in Germany. The Southampton striker fell awkwardly during the 1-1 draw with SVP Ansbach. "It's a terrible blow for Matt and for us," a Saints spokesman said.

Another absentee come August will be the Sunderland striker Craig Russell, who has had a hernia operation.

Sunderland will be a banned word around Alex Ferguson should the First Division club sign the American striker Jovan Kirovski for pounds 700,000 from Borussia Dortmund.

The Manchester Untied manager tried three times to get a work permit for Kirovski when he was at Old Trafford, where he was the reserves' top scorer two years running. Ferguson even made a trip to London to seek political help, but Kirovski, tipped as a new Mark Hughes, was not allowed to stay and joined Borussia last summer.

United opened their tour of the Far East with a 2-0 victory over a Thailand XI in Bangkok. A angled drive from Nicky Butt and a late own goal sealed United's success in front of a 38,000 crowd.