Football; QPR break club record for Zelic

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Queen's Park Rangers made a club-record signing yesterday when the Australian international Ned Zelic moved from Borussia Dortmund for pounds 1.25m. The three- year deal exceeds the pounds 1.1m Rangers invested in Reading's Simon Osborn earlier this month.

Ray Wilkins, the QPR manager, is hoping Zelic's work permit is granted in time for the start of the season. He said: "He's a player of immense talent who will add a bit of quality to that we already have at the club. We're very fortunate in that he is versatile as an egg - he can play at the back and in midfield; he's a good user of the ball and he has a physical presence."

Wilkins also denied speculation that the England Under-21 winger Trevor Sinclair is to leave Loftus Road. Gerry Francis was reportedly interested in the player he bought in his time as QPR manager, but Wilkins said: "Trevor Sinclair won't be going anywhere - to Tottenham or anywhere else."

In Scotland, Rangers look set to beat Celtic in the race to sign Dundee United's Serbian central defender, Gordan Petric. Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, broke off from the Scottish champions' three-match tour of Denmark to fly back to Glasgow yesterday, and is believed to have agreed a fee of pounds 1.5m.

Newcastle could have key defender Philippe Albert ready for the start of the new season. The Belgian international is poised to resume training with the Newcastle squad for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury before Christmas.

"He has come on leaps and bounds and he has an outside chance of being ready for the start of the season, which would be a big bonus for us," Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle manager, said.

Andy Hinchcliffe has agreed a new deal with Everton, and Joe Royle is expecting both Gary Ablett and Matt Jackson, who are out of contract, to also stay at Goodison Park.

The Birmingham striker Andy Saville is set to join Third Division Preston in a deal worth up to pounds 100,000. City will receive an initial pounds 75,000 for the 30-year-old, and Preston will pay a further pounds 15,000 if Saville scores 50 goals this season and another pounds 10,000 if they win promotion.

Sky Sports has extended its domination of British football coverage by winning exclusive rights to Manchester United's Uefa Cup campaign next season. Sky already holds the rights to live screening of England internationals, FA Carling Premiership and Bell's Scottish League matches.

It is their first major move into European football - after covering one-off ties involving Rangers, Norwich and Chelsea in previous seasons - and they will be showing every United match in full.

Martin Edwards, the United chairman, said: "We are delighted to sign this deal. They obviously made a good financial offer, but just as significant was the amount of time they can devote to sport. The deal ensures that fans across the UK will see Manchester United live from the first round."

Eric Cantona pulled on a Manchester United shirt for the benefit of just 10 spectators as Rochdale were beaten 3-2 in a training game. Cantona was wearing the No 7 shirt for the first time since the infamous kung- fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan in January that earned him a nine-month ban. His first Premiership appearance will be on 1 October against Liverpool.

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