Tuesday, April 27 – 1999
Aston Villa head a queue of clubs ready to offer £2 million-rated David James a chance to re-launch his career. The Liverpool keeper’s fear he will be one of a number of departures from Anfield was confirmed at the weekend when he was axed by Gerard Houllier for the Blackburn game.
Houllier is stepping up his interest in Dutch goalkeeper Sander Westerveld after Villa’s Mark Bosnich rejected his approach. James knew the writing was on the wall because Liverpool had not made any moves to extend his deal which has only one year to run.
But he was still surprised when Houllier publicity declared at the weekend he does not figure in his plans, saying: “I think David knows that he will probably have to play somewhere else next season.”
Villa had a £2,5, bid for James rejected earlier this season but manager John Gregory renewed his interest after Bosnich rejected a lucrative new contract to stay. Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Wilson is also keen while there is interests from three Spanish clubs and Italian side Bologna.
Gregory said: “We have always expected Mark would be leaving us. If that is the case we need to get on with it and make a signing of our own.”
Liverpool have tabled a £4,5m offer for Lens striker Vladimir Smicer, the Czech Republic star they see as Steve McManaman’s replacement.
(Copyright: Daily Express ‘Richard Tanner’, 27-04-1999)