Football: Arsenal fill their midfield gap with pounds 1.1m Jensen

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL became the first English club to sign a leading light of the 1992 European Championship yesterday, when they paid pounds 1.1m for Denmark's John Jensen.

It was Jensen's blistering shot which opened the scoring in Denmark's remarkable victory over Germany in the final of the championship. Jensen, 27, who plays for the Danish club, Brondby, is an energetic midfield player who impressed Arsenal at both club and international level.

George Graham, the Arsenal manager, who has been seeking a midfield player to help supply his highly talented forward line for some time, said: 'He's got a good engine, he gets involved. He was a big influence in the Danish team - he was in action all over the pitch. He can play in a central role or wide in a four-man midfield.'

A peg for Jensen was found in the Highbury dressing-room by the sale of the England Under-21 striker Andrew Cole to Bristol City for pounds 500,000. Cole, 20, scored eight times in 12 appearances while on loan to City at the end of last season, persuading the West County club to double their previous record outlay for a player.

Cambridge's Steve Claridge was another striker on the move, joining Luton for a fee to be set by tribunal. Claridge, 26, was the club's second highest scorer last season but had few regrets about leaving the long-ball academy.

Claridge said: 'I wasn't enjoying playing the Cambridge way. Things got to such a pitch that I think if no other club had come in for me, I still wouldn't have gone back to Cambridge.

'I knew I couldn't take any more when, one day in training, a player shouted 'feet' meaning that's where he wanted the ball - and he was punished by being made to do 40 press-ups.'

Mark Robins, the Manchester United striker who appeared to be on his way to the German club Dynamo Dresden last weekend, may stay in England with both Norwich and Newcastle declaring an interest. Newcastle's Gavin Peacock yesterday signed a two-year contract with the club after turning down a pounds 900,000 move to Middlesbrough.

Crystal Palace have signed Stuart Massey, a 27-year-old striker with Sutton United of the Diadora League. The deal will be worth a five-figure fee depending on the number of first-team appearances Massey makes. Palace arrived in Johannesburg yesterday to become the first overseas football club to tour South Africa since the sporting boycott was lifted.

John Lyall, the Ipswich Town manager, is handing over the responsibility for first-team selection to his assistant, Mick McGiven.

Four English clubs and five from Scotland will feature in the draw for the three European competitions in Geneva today. Leeds United and Rangers are unseeded in the European Cup, which means they could draw Barcelona, the holders, or Milan. Liverpool, Airdrieonians and Cardiff City go into the hat for the Cup-Winners' Cup.

The UEFA Cup, in which Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian and Celtic will compete, includes 16 former winners of European trophies (against only four in the European Cup), among them Real Madrid, Ajax, Benfica, Anderlecht and Juventus.

For the first time the 'new' nations of Serbia, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and the Ukraine are represented, as are Liechtenstein, Israel and the Faroe Isles. Croatia, Georgia and Albania were denied places in next season's competitions after being rated dangerous regions.

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