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Blackburn yesterday beat old enemy Manchester United to the signature of pounds 3million Swiss star Stephane Henchoz.

And now the English champions will hope that Bayern Munich defender Markus Babbel says 'yes' tonight to end their transfer frustration.

Henchoz chose Blackburn ahead of United when he agreed to a three-year deal worth pounds 1.8million in wages at lunchtime.

And that caused whoops of delight at Ewood Park as the Hamburg defender rejected United's four-year offer.

It's another body blow for United, who had moved in for Henchoz when Blackburn's original deal hit a major snag.

They wanted him on a year's trial so he could prove his fitness after surgery on a broken ankle.

But they were refused permission and Blackburn decided to splash the cash to deny United their first signing of the summer.

Rovers' coup will be tempered, though, by Henchoz's remarks that he chose Blackburn 'because they are not as big as United'.

He says: "I am not ready to go to a big club like Manchester United. I have been injured and it will be hard for me. But I know Roy Hodgson well and he will make it easier to settle.

"I am only 22 and I have time to move to a big club when my contract is finished at Blackburn."

Now United will switch their attention back to Babbel, who has been given an extended deadline to decide whether he is to join them in a pounds 4million deal.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Millar, Steve
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 17, 1997
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