Football: Blackburn swoop for pounds 3m Perez

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The Independent Online
ROY HODGSON, the Blackburn Rovers manager, has signed the French right- back Sebastien Perez in a pounds 3m deal, beating off a rival offer from Marseilles. Perez flew in from Bastia to secure a five-year contract at Ewood Park last night, taking Hodgson's spending this summer to more than pounds 10m.

The 24-year-old defender impressed for Bastia last season, emerging from the shadow of Patrick Valery who joined Rovers a year ago. Perez's move will put pressure on Valery and Jeff Kenna for a regular place in the side although he could be used in other positions. Hodgson's other signings are Kevin Davies, Darren Peacock and Jimmy Corbett.

Liverpool, too, have signed a French right-back, Eric Sikora from the French champions Lens for pounds 120,000. The 30-year-old defender has been at Lens since he was 12 but has decided to leave despite the club having the most successful year in its history.

Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, saw Sikora play last season on scouting trips to watch his team-mates, including Marc-Vivien Foe. Sikora arrived on Merseyside yesterday for a medical.

Sikora could be followed to Anfield by the return of Steve Staunton from Aston Villa. The Republic of Ireland international is poised to accept Liverpool's terms rather than Villa's.

In a busy day of transfer activity in the Premiership, Tottenham have completed the signing of the Piacenza defender Paolo Tramezzani for pounds 1.35m. The 27-year-old left-back has played more than 100 games in Serie A and has also appeared in the colours of Internazionale, Lucchese and Cesena in Italy. Spurs have been searching for a left-sided defender since they failed to sign Andy Hinchcliffe from Everton.

Celtic's hunt for a new manager continues after Tommy Svensson, the former Swedish national coach, yesterday rejected the club's advances to appoint him as head coach.

Dick Advocaat, the new Rangers manager, has told the forward Marco Negri he can leave Ibrox if the right offer emerges for his services.

Definitely moving on from Rangers is the right-back Stephen Wright, who singed for Bradford City on a free transfer yesterday. The former Scotland international joins subject to a medical today.

Jack Rowley, the former Manchester United and England striker has died, aged 79. Rowley scored twice in the 4-2 FA Cup final victory over Blackpool in 1948 and hit 30 goals for United in the championship win of 1951-52. He won six England caps and went on to manage Oldham, Bradford, Wrexham and the Dutch side Ajax.

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