United call off Kanchelskis transfer to Everton

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Football

Manchester United yesterday called off the pounds 5m transfer of Andrei Kanchelskis to their Premiership rivals Everton after failing to resolve a financial wrangle whereby the player's former club was due a slice of any sell-on fee.

The refusal of Uefa, Europe's governing body, to extend the European Cup-Winners' Cup registration deadline in order to allow Kanchelskis to play in the opening rounds of the competition only further complicated the Ukranian's transfer after his former club, Shaktyor Donezts, demanded a pounds 1.1m cut.

Kanchelskis had been paraded at Goodison Park in front of the cameras, having vowed never to play for Alex Ferguson, the United manager, again after a long-standing disagreement.

Outlining the facts behind the on-off transfer, Martin Edwards, the United chairman, said in a statement: "Original negotiations proceeded after a fax was received by Manchester United from Shaktyor Donezts, procured by a representative of the player and signed apparently by a vice-president of Donezts, waiving their rights to 30 per cent of any transfer fee above the total moneys already paid to them.

"On the basis of the above waiver, the player then negotiated his terms with Everton. Manchester United subsequently received a further fax from Donezts, this time signed apparently by the president of Donezts, maintaining their claim to the 30 per cent payment. The effect of this demand would reduce the net payment to Manchester United by the sum of pounds 1.14m.

"Under these circumstances, Manchester United have been forced to withdraw from the negotiations with Everton. This matter is very much regretted. No blame can be attached to Everton."

Ironically, Kanchelskis is now registered with United for the opening rounds of the Uefa Cup. The breakdown of the transfer could revive interest from Middlesbrough, whom Kanchelskis rejected in favour of Everton, and the champions, Blackburn.

The United manager failed in an attempt to land Tottenham's Darren Anderton as a replacement and has been put off by Ajax's pounds 10m valuation of the Dutch international Marc Overmars. They are now reported to be keeping tabs on the 21-year-old Nigerian striker Tijiani Babangida, currently playing for the Dutch club Roda JC Kerkrade. He has a maximum sell-on fee of pounds 2m written into his contract.

Aston Villa's worst fears over Steve Staunton were realised yesterday when it was confirmed that their captain needs a heel operation and will be out of action for six weeks.

Colin Hendry, the Blackburn central defender who missed Scotland's international against Greece last night, is hoping to recover from his groin strain in time for the Premiership kick-off on Saturday.

The Association of Wales will meet today in an attempt to end its seven-week search for a successor to Mike Smith. The short-list of six consists of Mike Walker, Brian Flynn, Ron Atkinson, Bobby Gould, Howard Kendall and Neville Southall.

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