Football: Platt to undergo more surgery

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The Independent Online

David Platt yesterday had his second knee operation in five months, and admitted he had never been fully fit for Arsenal.

The 29-year-old England midfielder needed surgery to repair a left knee cartilage torn in two places after playing just four Premiership games following his pounds 4.75m move from Sampdoria. He missed nine games while recovering but yesterday had to undergo an operation on the same knee which revealed a piece of floating cartilage.

Platt, who expects to be out for "a few weeks", said: "The unfortunate truth is that I have not been 100 per cent fit even once this season."

He has played 15 first-team games since the first operation, including Wednesday's 1-0 FA Cup replay defeat at Sheffield United, which has prompted manager Bruce Rioch to notify the Arsenal board of three players he wants to sign.

Ilie Dumitrescu has completed a pounds 1.5m move to West Ham. The Romanian international, who cost Spurs pounds 2.8m from Steaua Bucharest 17 months ago, needs a new work permit, which could take two weeks.

Another cross-city move today is expected to be that of the pounds 500,000- rated goalkeeper Tony Coton from Maine Road to Old Trafford. Manchester United want the 34-year-old Coton as cover for Peter Schmeichel.

Barry Fry, the Birmingham City manager, met Nigel Clough last night to try to persuade the second-string Liverpool forward to step down to the First Division. "Nigel will have to take a pay cut, but he won't need to play in the Pontins League again," Fry said.

Wolves are hoping to complete the permanent signing of Everton's Vinny Samways, whose loan spell at Molineux is nearly finished. They must seal an agreed pounds 1m deal before midnight tonight if the midfielder is to be eligible to face his former club, Tottenham, in the fourth round of the FA Cup next week.

Spurs' financial winner, page 21