Football: Diawara joins Arsenal's French contingent

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ARSENAL ARE confident of completing the signing of the Bordeaux striker Kaba Diawara today. Arsene Wenger has decided to add to his French foreign legion at Highbury amid uncertainty over when Nwankwo Kanu will be given the go-ahead to start his Gunners career.

The Arsenal manager signed Kanu for pounds 3m from Internazionale two weeks ago, but it could take up to three weeks before the Nigerian is granted a work permit, because the Department of Employment is insisting that non-EC players meet tougher admission criteria.

Arsenal face the Premiership leaders, Chelsea, on Sunday and then, after a visit to West Ham the following weekend, take on Sheffield United in the fifth round of the FA Cup just four days before meeting Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Diawara, 23, has been training with Arsenal this week and Bordeaux say that a transfer fee - thought to be around pounds 2.5m, although the Highbury club will not confirm the figure - has been agreed.

Diawara, a powerfully-built former France Under-21 international, has apparently become unsettled at Bordeaux even though he has contributed five goals in their progress to second place in the French First Division and the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup.

However, Diawara had invariably been used as a substitute and the Bordeaux coach, Elie Baup, said: "If he comes back to us he will spend the rest of the season on the bench."

Players' unions are lobbying Fifa to bring in an annual four-week break from football across the globe. The international federation of players' unions is applying pressure amid fears that some footballers are playing too many matches.

n Sunderland attracted a crowd of 33,517 to the Stadium of Light for Wednesday's Pontin's Central League match against Liverpool reserves. Fans were admitted free but over pounds 7,000 was raised through donations to two local charities.