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HARTSON TALKS ON pounds 5m DEAL; FOOTBALL: Wimbledon confirm Sky Blues bid for Welsh striker.

Byline: ANDY TURNER

WIMBLEDON'S John Hartson has admitted he is in talks with Coventry City, prompting speculation that the pounds 5m-rated striker could be installed in time to face Newcastle United at the weekend.

The Sky Blues are remaining tight-lipped about a deal and refuse to confirm negotiations are taking place, but the player revealed today: "There are talks going on between my agent and the chairman and I should know more towards the end of the week."

And a Wimbledon spokesman confirmed that a bid had been received from Coventry for Hartson, who has scored 10 goals in 22 games for the Dons this season, but would not comment further "until the fat lady sings".

The Welsh international missed the club's weekend FA Cup game with a rib injury but is believed to be back in training and fit to play at the weekend should the transfer go ahead.

Still only 25, Hartson would dearly love to return to the top flight and is said to be keen on a move to Highfield Road.

The stumbling block appears to be financing the deal. City are believed to have had an offer of pounds 2.5 million plus defender Richard Shaw rejected by Dons manager Terry Burton.

But it is believed the First Division club would will be more happy with a deal which sees them getting pounds 3million up-front plus the rest in instalments.

Richardson, meanwhile, has denied free-spending Fulham have made a bid to sign their Republic of Ireland centre-half Gary Breen and insist he is not for sale even if they want him.

Reports in the London Evening Standard claim the Craven Cottage club are ready to make a pounds 3.5million swoop the 27-year-old defender as a replacement for car crash victim Chris Coleman who could be out for up to 12 months after breaking a leg in three places in a car crash.

Cash from such a deal would clearly ease the move for Hartson but Richardson said: "There's absolutely no substance to that at all. He's certainly not going to be going there. We wouldn't let Gary Breen go anywhere.

"He's getting an extended run in the side and we're all delighted with his performances. He's proving what a top-class international performer he is. He's going nowhere."

Breen cost City pounds 2.5million from Birmingham City three years ago after spells at Maidstone, Gillingham and Peterborough United and is the fourth central defender to be linked to the club in a week.

Rangers' Lorenzo Amoruso and Newcastle's Alain Goma have both been mentioned while a stronger link has been made with Strasbourg's Brahim Hemdani.

CAPTION(S):

NOT FOR SALE: Fulham have been warned off making a bid for Sky Blues centre-half Gary Breen; DEAL ON: Last night's Evening Telegraph story
COPYRIGHT 2001 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 9, 2001
Words:466
Previous Article:BREEN IS NOT FOR SALE:CITY; FOOTBALL: Chairman warns Fulham off trying to sign defender.
Next Article:Eriksson resigns as Lazio coach; FOOTBALL.


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