Robson makes pounds 4.5m offer for Juninho

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The Independent Online
CATHERINE RILEY

Bryan Robson was in Brazil yesterday making an offer for Sao Paulo's international winger, Juninho. According to a spokesman for the Brazilian club, the Middlesbrough manager's offer was thought to be around pounds 4.5m, while Sao Paulo want pounds 6.3m for the diminutive 22-year-old winger whose full name is Oswaldo Giroldo Junior.

Robson and his club chairman, Keith Lambert, were due to watch Sao Paulo play their local rivals, Portuguesa, last night. In the last two weeks agents for Leeds, Aston Villa and Arsenal have also contacted Sao Paulo, the spokesman said, "but the only club to give us a formal offer has been Middlesbrough."

Terry Venables is facing a selection dilemma following Paul Gascoigne's withdrawal from the England squad for next Wednesday's friendly in Norway. Gascoigne pulled out of the squad yesterday after straining a thigh muscle in Rangers' 2-1 win over Motherwell on Tuesday.

Newcastle's Robert Lee is the obvious choice, but with Gascoigne missing, England's midfield resources are extremely stretched. David Platt and Peter Beardsley are injured; John Barnes is on compassionate leave; David Batty has been dropped, while Paul Ince is yet to be recalled after pulling out of the Umbro Cup squad in the summer.

Newcastle defender Steve Howey is another likely drop-out. Howey, who has a knee injury, missed Newcastle's 3-1 Coca-Cola Cup victory over Bristol City last night. Lee and left-back John Beresford also missed the game, with heel and rib injuries respectively, but they will be fit to join the squad.

Gascoigne's injury is expected to sideline him for at least a fortnight, putting him in doubt for Rangers' Champions' League match against Juventus on 18 October.

Ally McCoist, who was named in Scotland's squad for next week's friendly in Sweden, is expected to withdraw from the national side after suffering a groin starin against Motherwell, while Gary McAllister is also doubtful after picking up a knock in Leeds' Coca-Cola Cup victory at Notts County on Tuesday.

Roy Keane looks certain to miss the Republic of Ireland's Group Six European Championship qualifier against Latvia in Dublin next Wednesday. The Manchester United midfielder played only 37 minutes of Tuesday's Coca-Cola Cup second leg at York after being relegated to substitute with a suspected recurrence of hernia trouble.

United feared Keane would need a similar operation to the one he underwent during the close season, but specialists confirmed that Keane only had a stomach strain, ruling him out for around two weeks.

Celtic have signed the versatile Dunfermline youngster, Jackie McNamara, for pounds 600,000. The Fife club are pounds 3.5m in debt and agreed to sell after receiving an increased offer.

Joey Beauchamp has rejoined Oxford United, 16 months after joining West Ham in a pounds 1m deal. The 24-year-old was unable to settle at Upton Park and was transferred to Swindon for pounds 800,000 a few weeks later without playing a game. He returned to Oxford yesterday for a fee of pounds 300,000.

The Watford striker Kevin Phillips is to make an official complaint to Dorset Police over an alleged assault following the club's penalty shoot- out win at Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Phillips, who was not playing in the match, claims he was hit on the shoulder by a policeman wielding a truncheon as he ran on to the pitch to celebrate the Hornets' Coca-Cola Cup victory on Tuesday.

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