Blades call off bid for Brazil ace

BRYAN ROBSON has revealed that a disagreement over wages saw Ze Maria turn down the opportunity to join Sheffield United.

Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 7:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 11:22 am

United, who thrashed Morecambe 5-0 in the third round of the Carling Cup last night, had hoped to unveil the former Brazil international against Sammy McIlroy's side but were forced to make an embarrassing U-turn when negotiations designed to finalise the deal broke down just hours before the match.

Robson appeared to confirm that Ze Maria had agreed a move to Bramall Lane when questioned on the subject after Saturday's Championship fixture at Crystal Palace.

Despite interest from QPR United officials believed they had secured the 34-year-old's services for the remainder of the season.

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Ze Maria is understood to have reported for training at Loftus Road but his bid to secure a permanent contract could be affected by an injury he is believed to have sustained during a recent practice match.

"Yes, it's fallen through, it's off," said Robson. "We couldn't agree personal terms with his agent."

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However, United's ruthless demolition of Morecambe eased Robson's mood.

Billy Sharp and Luton Shelton both scored twice as Robson's players ran riot against League Two opposition while Lee Hendrie also opened his account for United.

Having stated his determination to reach the later stages of the competition, Robson is now hoping for another favourable draw in the next round.

But admitting that Sharp and Shelton had given him a welcome selection problem ahead of Saturday's visit by Southampton, Robson added: "James (Beattie) and Jon Stead have looked good together but then Luton and Billy have done ever so well here too. They've given me something to think about.

"I've always maintained that we've got so many good strikers here that scoring goals should never be a problem for us.

"The problem I've got now is that they all deserve to play but of course I can't pick them all."

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