Latest on Le Championnat stars

Last updated : 15 January 2003 By Martyn Elliott

It was reported that he attended Marseille’s 2-0 victory over Rennes on Tuesday night and saw the Belgian international score as his team rose to the top of Le Championnat.

It remains to be seen whether or not there is any truth in the story of an increased bid.

Meanwhile Bordeaux’s Russian international midfielder Alexei Smertin has claimed that he is keen to come to the Premiership.

"I don't know if it's frozen at Newcastle as well. But I want to leave. I know Newcastle is being spoken about a lot but I am not dealing with it. It's my agent," the 27-year-old said after hearing of the postponement of Les Girondins game with Strasbourg.

"If I can benefit by going to England then so much the better. It's a very good championship. I have adapted well at Bordeaux, everything is going well but I want to win the title.

"That's normal. Even at Lokomotiv Moscow we were playing for the title."

Reports in the French press have suggested though that Bordeaux intends to price Smertin out of a move and that Sir Bobby will instead turn his attention to Bastia’s 20-year-old Ghanaian international Mikael Essien.