Villa in for Ferdinand

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The Independent Online
Aston Villa last night had a pounds 6m offer for Les Ferdinand accepted by Queen's Park Rangers who had decided earlier in the day to cash in their major asset, placing the 29-year-old England striker on the transfer list, writes Clive White.

Doug Ellis, the Villa chairman, said: "We have had a bid accepted by Rangers and have been given permission to talk to him." Villa, however, may yet meet with competition from other clubs including Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle.

Ferdinand's representative, Phil Smith of First Artist, said: "There was always a gut feeling that come the end of the season and with one year left on his current contract, the opportunity to move would arise and that unless he moves now, he feels that events may pass him by."

Arsenal's proposed managerial offer to Bobby Robson has been endorsed by the former England manager's right-hand man and former Highbury manager, Don Howe.

"Arsenal know how well he did at Ipswich and I could understand them wanting him," Howe said, following the reported pounds 2m five-year offer to the 62-year-old Robson.

"He has won the title with Porto and now he has to decide if he wants to have a go at the Champions' Cup. I'm sure he'd love to do that. He's got that against the Arsenal offer. I've told him that the Arsenal set- up is wonderful. You don't get any interference, and you get all the backing."

While Arsenal have refused to confirm any offer, Porto are said to be determined to hang on to their coach, who has a year remaining on his contract. It is thought that Arsenal's caretaker manager, Stewart Houston, would be offered the chance to stay on as assistant to Robson.

Tony Yeboah, Leeds's pounds 3.4m Ghanaian international, has agreed to stay at the club for the next three and a half years, according to Bill Fotherby, the club's managing director.

Ryan Giggs has aggravated his hamstring injury and may miss Manchester United's pre-season build-up.

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