Shearer set to ask for a move

Football
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The Independent Online
Alan Shearer will have crisis talks today with Jack Walker, the Blackburn Rovers owner, with the England striker thought to be on the verge of asking for a transfer.

Walker is scheduled to jet in from his Jersey base to make a late attempt to stop unsettled Shearer from ending his four-year reign at Ewood Park and sparking a scramble that could reach British record heights. Manchester United have already had two bids for Shearer this summer turned down, while Newcastle would almost certainly be interested if Shearer became available.

Shearer met the Rovers manager Ray Harford and chairman Robert Coar for talks yesterday after his first day back at training. All parties were refusing to give hints about the content of the discussion, but those close to Shearer suggest he feels the time is right to move on. The fact that Walker has reacted to the talks with his underlings in such a quick manner confirms that he knows drastic action has to be taken to stop Shearer from leaving. The player has a verbal agreement that he can move on if he is unhappy and he would now appear to be at that stage.

The Sheffield Wednesday manager, David Pleat, returned from Turin yesterday confident that he can conclude the pounds 3m signing of the Juventus winger, Attilio Lombardo, next week. The balding former Sampdoria player is expected at Hillsborough on Tuesday for talks. "There are a couple of clauses in the agreement that have to be ironed out," Pleat said, "but I'm confident that we shall settle it."

Liverpool's quest to sign Patrik Berger has suffered a further setback thanks to a second injury blow for his club, Borussia Dortmund. Another of the German champions' summer targets, Rene Schneider, has an ankle problem that could put a halt to his transfer from Hansa Rostock.

The 35-year-old former Arsenal goalkeeper, John Lukic, has returned to Highbury on a free transfer after six years with Leeds.

The Southampton midfield player Neil Maddison has returned to The Dell following the collapse of a pounds 400,000 move to Crystal Palace, who are unwilling to pay the fee set by a Football League tribunal last week. Leicester are to increase their bid for the Norwich winger, Darren Eadie, to pounds 1.5m, after having a pounds 1m bid rejected.

Portsmouth yesterday revealed that they lost pounds 2.8m in the last financial year, and are losing pounds 7,600 per day. The former England coach, Terry Venables, who has been invited to participate in a rescue package, is to have talks with the club's managing director, Martin Gregory, soon.

A Newcastle United shareholders' meeting yesterday passed a resolution to sell off the club's non-football activities to a new parent company, the Sporting Club Ltd, after expressing fears that involvement in rugby union, ice hockey and basketball would harm the finances of the football club.

Barry Town, who became the first League of Wales club to win a European tie this week, were pitted against the Hungarian side, Vasas Budapest, in yesterday's draw for the qualifying round of the Uefa Cup. They hope to stage the second leg, on 20 August, at their Jenner Park home. Celtic were drawn against a Slovakian side, Kosice, while Aberdeen face the Lithuanians, Zalgiris Vilnius.

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