United deny bid for Bierhoff

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Manchester United have denied they have made a pounds 12m bid for the German striker Oliver Bierhoff, saying the claim was "completely unfounded".

Reports from Italy said that Bierhoff's Serie A club, Udinese, had rebuffed an approach from United for the 28-year-old, who scored Germany's "golden goal" winner in the final of the Euro 96.

On a busy day for their rebuttal unit, United also denied that Alex Ferguson has agreed a five-year deal with Erik Nevland, a Norwegian trialist. Nevland, who is to return to Norway to complete one year's national service, scored hat-tricks in both of his appearances for United's A and reserve sides.

The Premiership champions are to allow flags into the ground when Juventus visit Old Trafford for next Wednesday's Champions' League game.

Ken Ramsden, a United spokesman, said: "There is no blanket ban on flags as many people suspect, as long as they are small. What we do object to are large flags on poles which obstruct people's view of the game."

Perhaps that might alleviate the worries of the club's Independent Supporters' Association, which has voiced its concern about the lack of atmosphere at the ground. "We want to see a return to the days when supporters sang and chanted to urge the team on instead of sitting there waiting for something to happen before they make a sound," a spokesman said.

Barcelona have denied reports that they are still interested in signing David Ginola from Newcastle. They admitted they tried to sign the player during the summer, but were put off by the high price being asked for him.

Several Spanish newspapers reported a transfer was possible after Ginola's agent was seen in the president's box at Barcelona's game against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers have confirmed an interest in Chelsea's Mark Hughe,s should he find himself out of favour at Stamford Bridge after the arrival of Gianfranco Zola. Colin Todd, the manager on the First Division leaders, said: "We enquired about the player in the summer only to be told he wasn't available. If and when that changes, we would be interested as we would with any good players."

Bolton already have one Welsh striker at Burnden Park, Nathan Blake, but he is rated doubtful for the league game at Birmingham tonight. Blake missed his country's World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands on Saturday with an ankle problem.