Wright staying put - for now

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The Independent Online
Arsene Wenger yesterday scotched reports that Ian Wright was about to leave Arsenal, without completely ruling out his departure in the future.

Middlesbrough are said to have enquired about the availability of Wright - who will be 34 in October - and may be willing to pay pounds 3m for him. The Teesside club signed Paul Merson, another Highbury favourite, 10 days ago.

Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: "We don't plan to sell anybody else now, but if players want to leave then everybody has a price. In the case of Ian there has been no direct contact from Middlesbrough and really the story has no facts - just complete speculation."

Wright's agent, Jeff Weston, today said: "These stories about Ian going to Middlesbrough are nonsense. He's always said he wants to end his career at the top with Arsenal."

One reason Wright might leave Highbury would be if Wenger signed Dean Sturridge for whom Derby County want pounds 7m. Derby might be more inclined to sell should they pull of the signing of the Milan striker Roberto Baggio, but their chances of doing so appear increasingly forlorn, with the Italian international likely to stay in Italy with Bologna.

The chances of Les Ferdinand leaving Newcastle and joining his former team-mate David Ginola at Spurs are similarly remote. The Newcastle chief executive, Freddie Fletcher, said: "Les is going nowhere. We haven't even had a bid from Tottenham."

Bradford have reacted angrily after a Football League tribunal ordered them to pay pounds 310,000 to Doncaster for the defender Darren Moore. Bradford described the fee as "totally outrageous". Meanwhile, Bradford have signed a goalkeeper, 33-year-old Mark Prudhoe from Stoke for pounds 70,000. The Swindon striker Peter Thorne has agreed to join Stoke City, but Swindon are refusing to budge on their pounds 2m valuation, and the deal seems sure to go to a tribunal.

Crystal Palace have made a pounds 1.5m bid for Strasbourg's goal-scoring left- winger David Zittelli. A Palace delegation was in France last night trying to close the deal. Steve Coppell, the Palace manager, has also spoken to Blackburn's Paul Warhurst and has an interest in Juventus's Attilio Lombardo.

The Leeds midfielder Mark Ford and Nottingham Forest defender Steve Blatherwick completed moves to Burnley yesterday for pounds 250,000 and pounds 150,000 respectively.