Football: Domi arrives as Gullit looks to the future

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The Independent Online
IF THE increasingly demanding followers of Newcastle United were wondering what Ruud Gullit would be presenting this Christmas, then the manager answered their entreaties yesterday by unveiling a reassuringly expensive defender.

The left-back Didier Domi completed a pounds 3.25m move from Paris St-Germain to St James' Park when he signed a four-and-a-half-year contract which will include a further pounds 750,000 based on appearances. Not bad for a 20- year-old who has yet to break into the senior French side.

Gullit defended the decision to invest in youth. "Nowadays, the youth players are also getting more expensive, especially when it is an international and someone who has already played for several seasons for Paris St-Germain," he said. Domi was not registered in time to figure in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with First Division Crystal Palace.

Gerard Houllier was also seeking to beef up his Liverpool squad yesterday, with the defender Frode Kippe looking set to become the latest Norwegian to arrive at Anfield and the hunt for a new goalkeeper uppermost in the manager's priorities.

Kippe, a 19-year-old centre-back from Lillestrom, has been signed for an initial fee of pounds 700,000, rising to around pounds 2m if he proves a success.

Houllier has given the Italian club Salernitana 48 hours to decide whether to accept Liverpool's pounds 2.6m offer for the Cameroon defender Rigobert Song. Houllier is also chasing Dundee's pounds 1m-rated keeper Robert Douglas to replace the American Brad Friedel, who is unlikely to be granted a new work permit as he has made so few appearances this season. David James is the No 1 but his deal has just 18 months to run.

One goalkeeper likely to be making a swift exit from the Premiership at the end of the season is Aston Villa's Mark Bosnich, who will hold talks with Roma this weekend.

Coventry have signed 20-year-old Danish keeper Morten Hyldgaard for pounds 200,000 from Ikast and agreed a loan deal for the Venezia striker, Stefano Gioacchini. They have sold defender Jean-Guy Wallemme to Sochaux for pounds 400,000.