Chelsea try Maldini long shot

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 1997, 12:00am

CHELSEA have made a move for AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini - but admitted their inquiry was more in hope than expectation.

Ambitious Chelsea made an approach for the Italy captain, the son of the new national coach, but they will not be making a formal bid the 28-year-old, managing director Colin Hutchinson told Chelsea's ClubCall.

Hutchison also said that reports that the stylish London club had tabled a world record GBP17 million for the player were grossly exaggerated.

'I asked them about Maldini and they came back to me and said he was not for sale,' said Hutchinson.

'As far as I am concerned, that is the end of it. They were not even prepared to negotiate, although I must say that for GBP17 million I would have wanted the whole of AC Milan.' Manchester United's European Cup hopes suffered a major setback after their bid for Blackburn defender Henning Berg was rejected by their Premier League rivals.

United boss Alex Ferguson wanted versatile Norwegian international Berg as cover for his injury-plagued defence for his side's European Cup quarter-final against Porto in March.

Ferguson has problems with three first-choice central defenders.

David May is set to undergo a delayed hernia operation which will put him out for five to six weeks; Norwegian Ronnie Johnsen's nagging achilles tendon problem flared up in Sunday's 2-1 win at Tottenham; and Gary Pallister looked short of match fitness on his return to the side.

Florin Raducioiu's unhappy stay at West Ham was close to being ended after the Romanian striker agreed to return to his former club Espanyol.

West Ham boss Harry Redknapp confirmed that the 1994 World Cup star was on his way back to Spain in a move which will allow the London club to bid for Celtic's unsettled Dutch international striker Pierre Van Hooydonk.

'Florin is talking with Espanyol. He wants to go back. He's never really settled here,' said Redknapp.

Espanyol confirmed that Raducioiu had signed a two-and-a-half year contract.

Raducioiu cost GBP2.4 million when he moved from Espanyol in the summer, but it is thought his return will leave the Hammers GBP1 million down on their investment.

But at least West Ham will have more money to step up their bid for Dutchman Van Hooydonk, valued at around GBP4 million by Celtic.

Van Hooydonk has been unhappy at the Scottish club this season after a row over money with chairman Fergus McCann and manager Tommy Burns.

Arsenal have completed the signing of Paris Saint-Germain's 17-year-old striker Nicolas Anelka.

'He's been signed and he'll be here next season,' a spokeswoman said.

French daily newspaper Le Parisien reported in its Wednesday edition Anelka had agreed a two-year contract with the London side with an option to stay for two more years.

It said Anelka, unhappy at PSG, had wanted to leave for some time and his decision had been helped by the fact Frenchman Arsene Wenger was Arsenal's manager. Anelka told the newspaper in an interview he would leave PSG at the end of the season.

'People don't show enough confidence in me (at PSG),' he said.