Leeds head Ricardinho hunt
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsenal had been linked with a move for the 26-year-old midfielder, but his club Corinthians now say that Leeds are favourites to land him.
The Brazilian also holds an Italian passport meaning the former PSG man would not require a work permit to play in The Premiership.
Corinthians vice-president Antonio Roque Citadini says that other English clubs are interested in Ricardinho, but the only offer has come from Elland Road.
"There are two more English clubs that want Ricardinho but Leeds were the only one to put in a firm offer," said Citadini.
Venables is keen to spend some of the Rio Ferdinand cash on new signings, and is looking to bolster his midfield.
Tottenham boss Glenn Hoddle seems unwilling to part with Venables-target Darren Anderton, but he may have more joy with his chase for Barmby.
The Liverpool midfielder has not enjoyed great success at Anfield due to injuries and loss of form, and The Reds could let him go for around £3 million.
Venables is thought to be close to sealing the deal for Barmby, and would love to make it a double swoop with Ricardinho.
Despite the loss of Ferdinand, Venables does not seem to be in search of a new defender with the return to fitness of Lucas Radebe.
"Having Lucas back fully fit is a massive bonus for us," said Venables.
"He's been terrific in pre-season and I can see him figuring prominently in my plans.
"He's a champion, both as a player and a person. Champions are special and Lucas is certainly that."