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ROVERS TELL UNITED GIVE US SCHOLES; Shearer deal's on hold unless Ferguson sells his superkid.

Alan Shearer's pounds 17 million move to Manchester United took a dramatic new twist last night as Blackburn demanded Paul Scholes as part of any deal.

I can exclusively reveal Rovers want Scholes, United's brilliant 21- year-old - otherwise they will refuse to enter negotiations over Shearer's release.

And that's stunned United boss Alex Ferguson, who sees Scholes as the natural replacement when Eric Cantona, 30, bows out of the Premiership.

Blackburn have never been interested in taking pounds 7 million Andy Cole but they'll reluctantly do business if Scholes - rated at pounds 5 million - is part of the equation.

Shearer, back from Euro 96 England duty, will have clear-the-air talks with Blackburn owner Jack Walker this week and he'll break the news that he wants to quit Ewood Park.

Despite Rovers' assertions that Shearer's going nowhere, I understand that Walker is privately resigned to losing his lethal striker.

It's no longer a question of throwing more money at Shearer, who's on pounds 15,000-a-week.

Shearer is ambitious for more success and he's told friends that Blackburn have reached the limit of their potential.

Shearer has a gentleman's handshake with Walker that he can quit Rovers for a fresh challenge, but he'll have to invoke that agreement and, in effect, ask for a transfer.

United chairman Martin Edwards, who confirmed our exclusive back on May 12 that they'd made an approach for Shearer last month, may now be forced to increase the cash bid from pounds 12 million to a mindblowing pounds 17 million to get his hands on England's most prolific striker.

But that's no problem for the Double winners, who are set for another season of record-breaking profits on and off the pitch as they prepare for the lucrative European Champions League.

Another option would be pounds 14 million plus Lee Sharpe - a long-term target of Blackburn boss Ray Harford.

Several leading foreign clubs, including Barcelona and Napoli, are monitoring developments, but United are convinced they're front-runners for Shearer, and Old Trafford sources suggest he's desperate for the move to happen.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Bates, Steve
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 30, 1996
Words:342
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