Clemente to be fired

MADRID: Athletic Bilbao will dismiss coach Javier Clemente for criticizing the club, news reports said on Thursday. Bilbao has called an emergency board to discuss Clemente’s remarks following the recent signing of teenage midfielder Javi Martinez from Osasuna. Clemente said the Basque club had signed “everything it wanted and not what I would like.” Clemente, who began his third spell at Bilbao last October, helped the team to a 12th-place finish this season after it had been in danger of being relegated for the first time. — AP

Owen advised to rest

LONDON: Michael Owen’s injury lay-off will be nearly two months longer than anticipated after the Newcastle striker was told he must wait for career-saving knee surgery. Owen travelled to the United States earlier this week to see renowned knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman after rupturing a cruciate ligament while playing for England at the World Cup. But he has had to have preliminary surgery to repair cartilage damage and will not be able to have the main operation for another eight weeks. — AFP

Wigan confirm bid

WIGAN: English Premiership club Wigan revealed on Thursday they have made an offer to sign Birmingham striker Emile Heskey. Wigan manager Paul Jewell has targeted England international Heskey after selling Jason Roberts to Blackburn earlier this month. Former Liverpool star Heskey could be tempted to leave Birmingham after Steve Bruce’s side were relegated to the Championship last season. Jewell is keen to bolster his squad as he tries to build on Wigan’s impressive first season in the Premiership — AFP

Zico signs deal

ISTANBUL: Zico signed a two-year contract to coach Fenerbahce on Thursday. The 53-year-old Brazilian toured the club’s facilities and watched a training session before signing a deal in Fenerbahce’s 100th year to replace Christoph Daum. Zico led Japan at the World Cup, but was eliminated in the first round. — AP