Big moves

ENGLAND MIDFIELDER, Michael Carrick, is the latest 20 million euro target for Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson. An initial bid of 14 million euros was rejected out of hand by Tottenham, but United, determined to sign the 24-year-old, went back with an improved offer.

Negotiations for Mahamadou Diarra have broken down, after Lyon upped the asking price to an inflated 40 million euros in the face of rival interest from Real Madrid. Spurs are looking at St Etienne star Didier Zakora as a possible replacement, and have already strengthened their defence with Benoit Assou-Ekotto.  

Thirty-five-year-old defender, Gareth Southgate, has been unveiled as Steve McClaren’s successor at Middlesbrough, while England Under-21 coach, Peter Taylor, is expected to pip Graeme Souness for the vacant manager’s job at Crystal Palace. Southgate’s first act in charge has been the signing of Chelsea defender Robert Huth, in a seven million euro deal. The international defender was also wanted by Wigan and Everton.

On the continent, giant Czech striker Jan Koller has followed Tomas Rosicky out of Dortmund, joining AS Monaco in a two-year deal. The 33-year-old has been replaced by Swiss international Alexander Frei. In Portugal, Benfica have landed AEK Athens’ Greek midfielder Katsouranis for 2.5 million euros.

Fair play

THE LAST three entrants for next season’s Uefa Cup have been decided by luck of the draw. Decided on fair-play criteria accumulated over the last playing period, Gefle IF (Sweden), Brann (Norway) and Roeselare (Belgium) have been given the chance to participate in European club football.