Wednesday, July 22 – 1992
Chelsea and Aston Villa were last night locked in battle for the £900,000 signature of Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton.
He will fly home today from Liverpool’s Italian training camp to talk to both clubs, and his move could make way for Trevor Steven to go to Anfield.
If Houghton decides to move it could prompt Liverpool boss Graeme Souness to challenge Leeds in the pursuit of his former Glasgow Rangers star Steven.
It would mean another hefty slice of transfer income for Souness following last weekend’s £250,000 sale of Barry Venison to Newcastle.
Houghton was Liverpool’s most consistent performer last season in an injury-ravanger campaigns which ended nevertheless in FA Cup triump.
But Souness, minsful of UEFA’s stringent nationality regulations governing their looming Cup Winners’ Cup mission, is prepared to sell at the right place.
Republic of Ireland star Houghton said from the club’s Tuscan retreat: “If Liverpool have agreed a fee for me then I think I’d have to come home and talk to the clubs concerned.”
Liverpool last week rejected a £500,000 Derby overture for Houghton’s skill.
Now they have agreed a fee with Chelsea and Villa and it is up to Houghton, who has three years of his Anfield contract left. He was ready to see that out but may feel this is the chance to make the last big move of his career.
Houghton’s London links could give Chelsea boss Ian Porterfield a slight edge on Villa chief Ron Atkinson in the race for his signature.
The Glasgow-born Irishman moved to the capital at the age of 10 and was with West Ham and Fulham before moving to Oxford.
He signed on at Liverpool for £800,000 in October 1987.
(Daily Express, 22-07-1992)