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Football: pounds 5m tag wrecks Ricketts' hope of transfer.

Byline: ED CASEY

UNSETTLED Bolton striker Michael Ricketts faces the heartbreak of missing out on moves to Tottenham and Middlesbrough as both clubs yesterday backed away from his pounds 5million price tag.

Ricketts hoped to beat tomorrow's transfer deadline but a meeting between the White Hart Lane outfit and Bolton officials ended without agreement.

The reduced price tag on Ricketts' head is still too high for Spurs, who are willing to go to only pounds 3m but that was ruled out by chairman Phil Gartside after a long- distance call to Australia.

Rivals Boro are also unwilling to budge from their pounds 3m valuation and the clubs have also had a squabble about the approach at the start of the week.

Boss Steve McClaren will now wait for the summer before making his next move.

In the meantime Bolton manager Sam Allardyce expects to sign Spanish striker Salva Ballesta today after agreeing a loan deal with Valencia that is within the club's budget.

But as Ricketts now seems sure to stay for the rest of the season the Ballesta move will be the only arrival allowed at the cash-strapped club.

Ballesta is due to check in for a medical today after a lengthy meeting with Valencia last night about his future.

Bolton believe the highly-rated forward wants to join them and they are optimistic that there will be no last-minute snags.

They have also been linked with a swoop for young Swedish prospect Ndiwa Lord- Kangana of Djurgarden.

The 19-year-old youth international defender has not played a game for the Swedish champions but recently became a full member of the first-team squad for the 2003 season.

But after a trial at the Reebok Stadium the player claims he is on the verge of completing a move to Bolton for an undisclosed fee.

Lord told a Swedish newspaper: "Only a medical can stop me from this chance."

Djurgarden director of sports Bo Andersson said: "We have put the player in focus and will not stop him making this move."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 30, 2003
Words:338
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