Roma close in on Dacourt deal

Gordon Tynan
Saturday 04 January 2003 01:00

Olivier Dacourt could be on the verge of a move to Roma, after the Leeds United midfielder's representative arrived in the Italian capital yesterday to negotiate a possible transfer.

Leeds, who agreed to sell Dacourt to Lazio for £16m in the summer, only for the Frenchman to reject the move, would now be willing to accept around £4.5m for the player whose relationship with the Elland Road manager, Terry Venables, has deteriorated in recent months.

However, the Serie A side Roma are known to be short of funds too and are hoping to take the 28-year-old on loan, with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the season.

Birmingham City have confirmed their interest in signing the Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer, as revealed in The Independent yesterday. A club statement said: "Further to intense media speculation, Birmingham City can confirm that the club is interested in signing a player of Lee Bowyer's calibre. However, in relation to Bowyer, the club can confirm that lots of work needs to be done before any deal is finalised."

Bowyer will be a free agent in the summer and it is unlikely that he would be interested in anything more than a short-term switch to Birmingham, whose squad has been hit by injuries.

However the move would give Bowyer the opportunity to play regular first-team football again before seeking a move to a bigger Premiership club at the end of the season.

Everton were expected to complete the signing of the goalkeeper Iain Turner from Stirling Albion last night. The 18-year-old was having a medical at the club yesterday after impressing the Toffees' manager, David Moyes.

Turner has conceded just one goal in his last four games for Stirling and will work under Richard Wright, Steve Simonsen, Paul Gerrard and the new signing Espen Baardsen at Goodison Park.

Ipswich Town say they may be forced to sell players this month after releasing almost 20 backroom staff in a cost-cutting measure. The First Division club blame falling gates at Portman Road since relegation from the Premiership as one reason for the cuts.

The Ipswich chairman, David Sheepshanks, said: "We want to support [manager] Joe Royle as much as possible, but by the same token our hands are tied by financial realities. We cannot rule out the possibility of player sales, as clearly the most significant cost base for the club centres around our playing staff."

The Motherwell manager, Terry Butcher, has told Preston North End that their second, undisclosed bid for the Scotand striker James McFadden was "absolutely nowhere near" enough to prise him away from Fir Park.

"It's up to them what they do next and we can't prevent people making bids because it's out of our control," Butcher said. "But we have our thoughts about the value of the player and we consider that value to be very high. Their valuation comes nowhere near ours."

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