Football: Chelsea set sights on Mijatovic

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The Independent Online
GIANLUCA VIALLI is trying to sign Real Madrid's Yugoslav striker, Predrag Mijatovic, in a pounds 5m deal.

The Chelsea manager is competing with Fiorentina to buy the 30-year-old, whose goal won the European Cup for the Spaniards a year ago. Chelsea officials have been in contact with Mijatovic's agent for the past couple of days and hope to persuade the player to come to Stamford Bridge. Mijatovic is surplus to requirements at Real, who are prepared to sell him for a reasonable fee.

As Lazio stepped up their attempts to sign Nicolas Anelka yesterday, the French striker said Arsenal cannot complain about illegal approaches made to him - as that was, he said, how the Gunners brought him to Highbury in the first place.

While Arsenal have been conducting talks with Lazio, Anelka and his agents have always favoured Real Madrid, who have been accused by the Gunners of breaching Fifa transfer rules. Highbury officials claim the player's representatives held talks with Real without their permission.

However, Anelka, whom Arsenal value at pounds 21m, said: "All the clubs do that. Arsenal did the same thing with me to get me to leave Paris St-Germain. My priority is to join Real Madrid but, if that does not work out, why not Lazio? I prefer that than to return to Arsenal. I always planned to play there one day."

Even if Lazio do not sign Anelka, they are likely to part with the Chilean World Cup striker Marcelo Salas, which will interest Manchester United, Arsenal and maybe Chelsea. The Roman club are buying two international strikers - Argentina's Claudio Lopez from Valencia and Sweden's Kennet Andersson from Bologna - and Salas will be allowed to go for around pounds 16m.

Middlesbrough have refused to comment on speculation linking Juninho with a return to the club, after Atletico Madrid revealed that they are willing to listen to offers for the Brazilian midfielder. Boro have always claimed they have first refusal on Juninho and have an agreement with the Spanish club that they will be informed of his availability.

Bradford City are set to sign the centre-half David Wetherall from Leeds United for around pounds 2m, after the player's talks with both Southampton and Huddersfield fell through. Sheffield United are interested in the Bradford left-back Wayne Jacobs, who has turned down a new six-year contract at Valley Parade.

The Scottish international forward Simon Donnelly and the midfielder Phil O'Donnell have completed their moves from Celtic to Sheffield Wednesday, both on Bosman free transfers, while the French midfielder Olivier Dacourt yesterday sealed his pounds 6.5m transfer from Everton to the French club, Lens.

Pierre van Hooijdonk ended his four-year career in British football with a parting shot at Nottingham Forest yesterday, when the Dutch striker completed his pounds 3.5m move from to Vitesse Arnhem.

Van Hooijdonk, who staged a three-month strike at the start of last season, left the City Ground with few regrets. "In the future I will think three or four times before taking strike action again, but the relegation of Nottingham Forest proved that my words were right." He refused to play after complaining at the club's lack of ambition following the sale of some key players.

The former England assistant manager John Gorman has applied to take over at Forest, after Glenn Hoddle's decision to reject the chance of managing the club

Gorman, who was No 2 to Hoddle at Swindon and with England, said: "I would be delighted if they wanted me for the position. I am not as big a name as Glenn, but I feel I did a good job at Swindon." Gorman succeeded Hoddle as manager of the Wiltshire club.

France's World Cup striker Christophe Dugarry has tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone and faces a possible six-month suspension.

Dugarry's club, Marseilles, received official notification of the test result from the French Football Federation yesterday. Dugarry, who scored France's first goal of their successful World Cup campaign last year, denied taking drugs and said he would set out to prove the failings of the testing system.

Dugarry allegedly tested positive after Marseilles' home league match against Lyon on 30 April. He is on holiday and is due to join the Marseilles squad tomorrow for a pre-season training camp. If the test results are confirmed, he would be the sixth French footballer to have tested positive for nandrolone since 1997. The others include the former Hearts and France midfielder Vincent Guerin, who served a six-month suspension.

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