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Money set to block Robert's exit route.

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Troubled Newcastle winger Laurent Robert has been offered the chance to revive his controversial career in his homeland after Toulouse confirmed last night that talks have been held with the French international.

But with the Magpies reluctant to sanction a cut-price deal for one of the highest-paid players at St James's Park, the finances involved mean that the chances of a deal being struck appear to be slim.

Robert is set to quit Tyneside this summer following the deterioration of his relationship with boss Graeme Souness and, although he has spoken of his determination to remain in England, a return to France would be considered.

It was there that he first made his name with Paris St-Germain prior to his pounds 10m move to United.

But despite the ambitions of coach Erick Mombaert, it is unlikely Toulouse possess the clout to lure him back.

"I confirm that we were in talks with Laurent Robert," said Mombaert last night. "We met, but, for the moment, nothing has been done. He has a year on his contract with Newcastle and I do not know where he is with his negotiations with them."

* DARLINGTON have agreed new contracts with eight players ( and hope to make defender Matt Clarke the ninth to commit to the club for next season.

Midfielders Adrian Webster, Neil Maddison, Matty Appleby, Clark Keltie and Jonjo Dickman and defenders Ryan Valentine, David McGurk and Chris Mason have all agreed new deals with the Quakers. Clarke rejected the League Two club's initial offer but manager Dave Hodgson believes he has changed the centre-back's mind.

"It's only natural that you look for the best deals out there and Matt felt that he could get more elsewhere," Hodgson said.

"I respected that but when it came down to it I asked him whether it was worth moving for the sake of an extra pounds 200 here or there. After a discussion Matt decided the best place to be was here."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:331
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