Football: Fashanu joins Villa for 1.35m pounds: Virus makes Shearer likely to miss Blackburn's first two Premiership games

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The Independent Online
JOHN FASHANU, since 1986 the mental and physical embodiment of Wimbledon's Route One style, left the club yesterday when he signed for Aston Villa for pounds 1.35m.

It was a deal that came out of the blue as Fashanu had previously announced he wanted to go part-time with Wimbledon to concentrate on his business interests. The enticement of Villa's Uefa Cup campaign and the persuasion of their manager, Ron Atkinson, changed his mind, however, and the 30- year-old striker has been given a two-year deal although there is the option to review his position after 12 months.

'I have been at Wimbledon for the last nine years and I was beginning to slow down a little,' Fashanu said. 'Joining a new club will renew all my old enthusiasm. It's a big club and I really admire Ron Atkinson's style of play.'

Atkinson got his man after 10 days of negotiations and two rebuffs. 'Fashanu will have a big influence on the team,' he said, 'and put some sparkle into the attack. No defence likes playing against him.'

Sam Hammam, the Wimbledon chairman, said he had sold Fashanu partly as a reward for his services. 'John has devoted the best years of his life to us and we would never have achieved what we did without him. He will always have a special place in our hearts.'

Sheffield Wednesday also moved to sign a new player yesterday although the identity of the pounds 1.3m left-back remained a mystery that was only partially solved by the knowledge he had played in the World Cup.

Trevor Francis, the Wednesday manager who has made inquiries for Brazil's Leonardo and Argentina's Jose Chamot, said the fee and the player's terms had been agreed and that the deal would be completed within the next 48 hours. The move follows the rejection by Tranmere of an improved bid of pounds 1m for Ian Nolan.

Alan Shearer is out of the Charity Shield against Manchester United on Saturday week and is likely to miss Blackburn's first two Premiership games (against Southampton and Leicester) after contracting a viral infection on holiday.

Crystal Palace have agreed to pay pounds 80,000 for Grimsby's former Arsenal goalkeeper Rhys Wilmot while Watford paid pounds 100,000 for Leyton Orient's full-back Dominic Ludden.

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