Football: Eadie joins Leicester in record deal

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The Independent Online
LEICESTER CITY yesterday smashed their transfer record to sign the Norwich City striker Darren Eadie in a pounds 3m deal.

The former England Under-21 player has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract which will keep him at Filbert Street until the summer of 2003. It ends a three-year chase by Leicester's manager, Martin O'Neill, who had Eadie as one of his charges during a brief spell in charge of Norwich.

Eadie, 24, has been dogged by a series of injury problems in the past two years which have checked his progress. He can play in a series of positions: left-wing, midfield, behind the front two and up front. His capture beats Leicester's previous transfer record of pounds 2.5m for the defender Frank Sinclair in the summer of 1998.

O'Neill said: "I worked with him for six months at Norwich and he was terrific. I have asked about him a number of times since then but I've always been knocked back. I'm absolutely delighted to get him now."

Eadie is ineligible for Leicester's FA Cup tie at Hereford today and next Wednesday's Worthington Cup fourth-round clash with Leeds. He is expected to make his debut in the Premiership encounter with Derby County at Filbert Street on 18 December.

Eadie said: "I wanted to get back in the Premiership. It's the place to be. I'm hoping I can kick-start my career with England again. The important thing for me at first is to be playing well for Leicester. If I do that then hopefully the England side of things will take care of itself."

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, will quiz his French compatriot Emmanuel Petit today over reported remarks attributed to the World Cup-winning midfielder about how much he hates football life in England.

In an interview with a French newspaper, Petit has apparently hit out at the administrators of the game in England, calling them "amazingly stupid", and has alleged there is an anti-French campaign in this country He has cited his team-mate Patrick Vieira's six-match suspension for his spitting offence at West Ham last month.

Petit has also plunged his Arsenal future into doubt by confessing: "I ask myself about my plans at Highbury every day. I have three-and-a- half years left on my contract but that means nothing nowadays."

Wenger said: "Petit can be impulsive sometimes in what he says. He can over-react - as he does sometimes on the field. But, if he is honest, he knows how good English football has been to him."

The Italian striker Benito Carbone has given Aston Villa a boost by declaring that he is ready to sign a long-term deal with the Birmingham club.

Carbone initially only signed for Villa until the end of this season after moving from Sheffield Wednesday last month for a nominal fee. But he is now willing to pledge his commitment to John Gregory's side - even though he has been out of the starting line-up recently.

Carbone has also dismissed recent speculation linking him with Chelsea and the Italian club, Reggina.

The former Bristol City manager Bobby Houghton was sacked as the national coach of China yesterday. The 52-year-old, who led the Swedish side Malmo to the European Cup final against Nottingham Forest in 1980, has paid the price for failing to steer China to last year's World Cup or next year's Olympic Games.

The Ipswich Town defender Gary Croft was jailed for four months at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, after being caught driving while disqualified for six months for speeding offences. The former Blackburn Rovers player was arrested driving away from the Suffolk side's training ground the day after scoring the winning goal on his debut against Manchester City.