FOOTBALL: Kinnear poised to sign defender

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The Independent Online
WIMBLEDON ARE poised to make Onandi Lowe, a defender who played for Jamaica during the World Cup finals in France, their first signing since the end of last season.

The 25-year-old centre-back, who was recommended to the Dons' manager, Joe Kinnear, by by his Jamaica team-mates, Robbie Earle and Marcus Gayle, is flying to London today to complete his pounds 500,000 move from Harbour View. Lowe can also play as a striker but Kinnear, who has been frustrated in the transfer market this summer as intended targets have proved too expensive, wants him to beef up his back line once he has reached match fitness.

Coventry City have finally sold Robert Jarni, who never played for them, to Real Madrid today for pounds 3.35m - a profit of pounds 750,000 on a strange double deal. Jarni agreed personal terms with City after the club paid pounds 2.6m to Real Betis, but when he flew back to Spain he changed his mind and agreed to join Real Madrid.

City's chairman, Bryan Richardson, said: "There were some testing negotiations and some brinkmanship but we are happy with the outcome. We would rather have had the player but now it seems the money will come back into the club and we are looking to find a similar type of player for our squad."

The Leeds United manager, George Graham, will make an improved pounds 2m bid for the Port Vale's Gareth Ainsworth. Graham sent his chief scout, Ian McNeill, to watch the winger in midweek. Graham has money to spend on improving his squad for their Uefa Cup campaign, but the deadline for signings is today.

Celtic will face a fight to prise Alen Boksic away from Lazio if they pursue their reported interest in the Croatian striker. The Scottish champions want to sign the 28-year-old Croatian before today's deadline so that he can lead their assault on the European Cup.

The Parkhead side are understood to have targeted the 28-year-old to spearhead the defence of their Premier League title and a possible Champions' League campaign.

Celtic are understood to have started negotiations on a pounds 5m transfer of Boksic, who had is back in training after a four-month lay-off with an jury to his right knee that forced him to miss France 98. However, the Italian club's Swedish coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, wants to keep all his strikers, who include the Chilean Marcelo Salas and Roberto Mancini.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I am waiting for Boksic, and as soon as he is ready, he has a place [in the team]. I want him to play and I would like to have all the strikers available for selection. It is a shame that until now I haven't been able to see the whole squad."

Middlesbrough's manager, Bryan Robson, is avoiding the risk of further embarrassment in the transfer market by refusing to comment on his move to sign Colin Cooper from Nottingham Forest until the centre-back's pounds 2.5m transfer has been completed. Earlier this month, Middlesbrough were sure of the pounds 3.5m capture of Keith Gillespie from Newcastle United winger, but the transfer collapsed when the winger failed his medical.