United winger close to signing

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The Independent Online
Andrei Kanchelskis, the Manchester United winger, is expected to decide within the next 24 hours whether his future lies with Middlesbrough or Everton.

The unsettled Manchester United winger is wanted by Bryan Robson and Joe Royle, although Leeds United may make a late bid.

Robson is hoping that their close friendship forged when Kanchelskis arrived at United in 1991 will tempt the Ukrainian to conclude a pounds 6m move if Boro can match the Merseysiders' financial package.

The pulling power of the pound is worrying the Italians, with the transfer of the 6ft 5in striker Andrea Silenzi from Torino to Nottingham Forest increasing fears that a greater exodus is on the way.

"Silenzi to Nottingham Forest is just the beginning," the Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi, said yesterday. "With the weakness of the lira, foreign clubs are now also able to buy our best players. We must come to terms with the German, French and English clubs."

Frank Clark, the Forest manager, will fly to Italy on Monday to agree terms with the 29-year-old Silenzi, who will be the first Italian international to play in England when the pounds 1.8m deal is completed.

Forest have already spent more than pounds 4m on Kevin Campbell and Chris Bart- Williams this summer, after the pounds 8.5m departure of Stan Collymore.

Three leading non-Italian players have left for England in recent months - the England captain David Platt and the Dutch internationals Ruud Gullit and Dennis Bergkamp. Italian players, whose league is considered the wealthiest in the world, have rarely moved overseas.

Sheffield Wednesday are looking to Germany for their imported talent. The Australian Ned Zelic, 24, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, is flying to Sheffield today to negotiate a deal worth around pounds 1.5m with David Pleat. Zelic plays as a sweeper, but he can also operate in midfield.

Phil Babb, the Liverpool defender linked with swap deals involving Tottenham forward Nicky Barmby and Aston Villa defender Steve Staunton, is staying at Anfield. The Republic of Ireland defender has struggled to justify his pounds 3.5m transfer fee since signing from Coventry last year.

However, Babb has been told to ignore the speculation. "I am settled at Liverpool and anyone who suggests otherwise doesn't know the situation," he said. "I've just bought a house here and I am very happy."

Trevor Morley faced the press at Reading yesterday, but instead of telling them he had signed for the First Division club, the 34-year-old West Ham striker revealed that the deal was on hold because he had been contacted by a rival manager.

Standing alongside Reading's joint manager Jimmy Quinn, Morley, who has been given a free transfer by West Ham, said: "I was due to leave home at 10.30 to come here when I got a call, one I didn't particularly want. I don't want to come here with any doubt in my mind, so I think I owe it to everyone to talk to this other manager."

n Tony Cascarino, the former Aston Villa and Chelsea striker, got Marseille off to a winning start in the French Second Division by scoring a hat- trick in a 3-1 home defeat of Le Mans.

n Marco van Basten, whose career appeared finished due to an ankle injury two years ago, is back in training with Milan.