Shearer in 'pounds 19m move to United'

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The Independent Online
Alan Shearer could be on his way to Manchester United in a transfer deal that values him at pounds 19m and involves Andy Cole moving the other way to fill a striking role at Blackburn Rovers.

Reports last night suggested that Blackburn would be paid pounds 12m, with the pounds 7m-rated Cole making up the remainder of Shearer's record valuation. Shearer would reportedly sign a contract worth pounds 20,000 a week at Old Trafford.

If that deal did go ahead, it would more than double the British record transfer fee, the pounds 8.5m that Liverpool paid Nottingham Forest for Stan Collymore a year ago.

Shearer, who hails from Newcastle, scored 37 goals for Blackburn in each of the past two seasons, but he went into the European Championship after an international goal drought dating back to 1994. However, his luck in front of goal changed as the tournament began and he has a good chance of finishing Euro 96 as the leading scorer after his five goals in England's run to the semi-finals.

Having clinched the "double" of Premiership title and FA Cup for the second time last season, Manchester United have the European Champions' Cup as their next target and need to secure a more reliable goalscorer than Cole to aid their cause.

The Old Trafford club had tried to sign Shearer from his previous club, Southampton, in 1992. Instead, the England striker accepted a more lucrative offer from Blackburn and moved to Ewood for pounds 3.3m.