Sochaux embark on Boyd spying mission

FRENCH Ligue 1 club Sochaux will send a scout to today's Old Firm game to monitor Kris Boyd.

The club, based in the north-eastern industrial town of Montbeliard, are currently battling for survival in Le Championnat. A member of their recruitment team, Gerard Battles, will be at Celtic Park.

Sochaux's president Alexandre Lacombe also reaffirmed his interest in Boyd and believes a deal can be done to bring the Scotsman to France.

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"He would really love to come to France," said Lacombe. "A transfer in January is foreseeable and his salary is not prohibitive.

"Moreover, he will be at the end of his contract in June."

Red tape rules Ki out

CELTIC'S newest signing Ki Sung-Yueng will not be eligible for this afternoon's Old Firm game following a delay processing his international clearance at the South Korean end.

The 20-year-old midfielder, signed from FC Seoul in a move that could cost the club 2 million, hasn't played since the league in his homeland ended more than a month ago. He wasn't expected to do better than a place on the bench today, then, and Celtic are therefore not thought to see the hold-up in his registration as a major issue.

Megson rues lack of cash

FORMER Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson claims the club was "in a huge mess" when he took over in 2007, but believes he is leaving it in a far healthier position.

Megson was sacked on Wednesday with the club third from bottom of the Premier League on goal difference but with games in hand over their rivals.

The former West Brom boss took over from Sammy Lee, who had struggled at the Reebok Stadium having replaced the hugely popular Sam Allardyce earlier in 2007.

Megson said: "The football club is in a lot better state now than it was when I arrived.

I'm not being critical of Sammy Lee, he's a terrific guy. But he would have had problems as well because Sam did a really good job at Bolton.

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"They weren't always in Europe – I think it happened twice in maybe seven or eight years – but there were things that needed changing.

"The playing squad was probably the oldest in the Premier League and needed to change. I think 34 players left the football club and of the 34 I think there's only two currently playing Premier League football. But it's a fantastic football club, don't get me wrong. The only thing that is a negative is that it is also the lowest-spending team in the Premier League."

Portsmouth promise cash

PORTSMOUTH chief executive Peter Storrie hopes the players will be paid their December wages on "Monday or Tuesday".

The club had hoped the outstanding player salaries would be processed on New Year's Eve, but the funds did not clear before Friday's Bank Holiday.

"My understanding is it is additional loans they are currently in the process of dealing with," said Storrie. They (the owners) were looking to bring a major bank loan in and that's what has slowed the process up. They are trying to do that now. My understanding from them is that there is a short-term loan coming in to pay the wages and the players' wages should be paid on Monday or Tuesday, I believe."

Totti considers comeback

AS Roma striker Francesco Totti is willing to come out of international retirement and play for Italy at the World Cup if he is fit and called up.

The 33-year-old quit the Azzurri after their 2006 World Cup triumph, but has announced he would be willing to return to the fold having only hinted at the prospect in recent months. "I will decide in April. If Marcello Lippi calls me up, if I am fit and if the group wants me, I will go," Totti said.

Coach Lippi has long hailed Totti but has never said he will be guaranteed a place back in the squad.

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Luca Toni, a new team mate of Totti having signed on loan from Bayern Munich, is also a candidate for a return to the Italy squad, but first wants to concentrate on Roma. "My aim is to score lots of goals and play well," he said. "Then we'll see what happens in June."

Schalke sign up Volz

SCHALKE have given former Arsenal and Fulham defender Moritz Volz the chance to resurrect his career and earn a return to his first professional club.

The 26-year-old left Schalke to join Arsenal in 1999 and spent further spells with Wimbledon, Fulham and Ipswich, but he has been without a club since July. Schalke manager Felix Magath now wants to take a close look at the full-back, who was part of the 26-man squad that flew to Jerez on the Spanish coast yesterday for a one-week training camp ahead of the Bundesliga restart on January 15.