Rioch launches Highbury clear-out

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The Independent Online
GUY HODGSON

Bruce Rioch's inclination to leave well alone at Arsenal came to an end yesterday when he added six names to a transfer list that suddenly expanded to nine. The rumours that the Gunners are about to sign Gianluigi Lentini might have some substance after all.

The Arsenal manager reacted to a third defeat in four games in the Premiership - not to mention an FA Cup defeat at Sheffield United - with an "enough is enough" gesture. To the names of David Hillier, Steve Morrow and Mark Flatts can be added the bulk of the reserve team.

The most prominent additions to the list are Chris Kiwomya and Eddie McGoldrick, who cost Rioch's predecessor, George Graham, pounds 1.5m and pounds 1m respectively, but also included in the clear-out are goalkeeper Vince Bartram, defender Scott Marshall and forwards Paul Read and Paul Shaw.

Lentini cost Milan a world record pounds 13m when he was transferred from Torino in the summer of 1992 but a serious car crash has caused him to struggle to get into the first team, giving credence to reports that Rioch was about to sign him for a cut-price (if that is the right term) fee of around pounds 6m.

Certainly, in Saturday's programme, Rioch suggested change was imminent, writing: "We need new blood. I've nominated three players I'd like the club to sign." Yesterday's move would appear to be a step in that direction.

The turnover at Manchester City Road gained pace last night when the German international, Michael Frontzeck, arrived at Maine Road to discuss a pounds 350,000 transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

The two clubs have agreed the fee and it requires only the assent of 22-cap Frontzeck to personal terms for the move to be completed. The left- back was recommended by City's German goalkeeper, Eike Immel, who played with him at Stuttgart.

An England international, David Batty, is also likely to be transferred in the near future, probably to the Premiership leaders, Newcastle. The abrasive Blackburn midfield player will have talks with his manager, Ray Harford, today, when it is understood he will be told that the club is open to offers. The fee is likely to be around pounds 3m.

Robbie Earle has failed in his appeal against his sending-off at Bolton and will miss Wimbledon's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Middlesbrough on Saturday. Wolves last night signed Jiri Novotny, a central defender who plays internationally for the Czech Republic, from Sparta Prague on a week's trial.

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