Saints set sights on Berkovitch

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The Independent Online
Graeme Souness' overseas search for reinforcements to bring Southampton their first Premiership victory looks to have settled on the Israeli international midfielder Eyal Berkovitch.

The Southampton manager hopes that Maccabi Tel Aviv will accept his offer of pounds 1.2m for Berkovitch, who has 40 caps. Souness has also agreed a deal with Sporting Lisbon to bring the pounds 1.8m-rated Portuguese striker Paolo Alves to The Dell for a year on loan.

Barcelona appear to have put Miguel "The Beast" Nadal back in his Nou Camp cage even though the defender is keen on a move to Manchester United.

"Nadal now feels he would benefit his career with a move to Old Trafford but Barcelona have had a change of heart and now say they are not prepared to sanction his transfer," Martin Edwards, the United chairman, said. "In the circumstances, our hands are tied and there is nothing more we can do. Nadal signed a new three-year contract in the summer and if they are not prepared to release him I am afraid that is the end of the story."

Roy Keane, who has not played for United since the opening game of the season after having a cartilage operation, will be in the starting line- up at Aston Villa on Saturday, providing the midfielder successfully came through his reserve game last night.

Keane's return comes just when Tottenham's Darren Anderton is contemplating five weeks out to recover from a hernia operation.

The player and his club know that surgery is necessary, the only question is when. Anderton, who made only six Premiership appearances last season, is prepared to soldier on and not add to Spurs injury list. He is also mindful that England play Poland in a World Cup qualifying tie at Wembley on 9 October.

Anderton played a full game for the first time this season on Tuesday against Preston in the Coca-Cola Cup, scoring in the second minute.

"The manager and I both know that surgery will have to be done at some stage," he said. "It was good to play a full 90 minutes but I am still struggling and felt a bit restricted in the second half. I tend to ache a bit but we will see how it goes in the next couple of days."

His manager, Gerry Francis, is happy to leave the final decision up to the player. "Darren feel she can get by at the moment. We were unlucky to lose him for seven months last season. He is a very important player to the club".

Fitness is also proving elusive for Keith Curle, the Wolverhampton Wanderers defender, who has yet to start a competitive match following his pounds 650,000 move from Manchester City in July. The 32-year-old former England international was sent to see a specialist in Leeds yesterday in an attempt to solve calf and heel problems.

Mark McGhee used pounds 1.4m of Wolves cash to buy two central defenders this summer and neither of them are available. Adrian Williams cost pounds 750,000 from Reading, but he suffered knee ligament damage on a pre-season tour and will be sidelined at least until the end of the year.

n The Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, suspended by an Argentinian court from playing for 13 months, is to quit Argentina because he fears being attacked. "I'm afraid that some madman will shoot me in the back, so I want to leave," he said. "It hurts a lot of people that a Paraguayan can be as popular as me. They think we should just be on building sites or cleaning houses."