Football: Rangers sign up Boli for pounds 2.7m

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The Independent Online
RANGERS yesterday completed the signing of Marseille's international defender, Basile Boli, who has played 50 times for France. They beat off competition from Arsenal, Tottenham and Genoa to secure the Frenchman's services, for a reported fee of pounds 2.7m.

The three-year deal brings Rangers' spending this summer to nearly pounds 6m following their acquisition of Brian Laudrup from Fiorentina last month.

Rangers' international brigade may be joined by another foreign import before the summer is out. The Ibrox chairman, David Murray, is negotiating with the Danish side Brondby for the transfer of the defender Marc Rieper. Brondby want at least pounds 1m, while Murray values Rieper at between pounds 800,000 and pounds 900,000.

Everton have not been as successful on the international transfer market. The Swedish striker, Martin Dahlin, has rejected an offer from the club and instead has signed a new contract with his German club, Borussia Monchengladbach.

The 26-year-old, who has scored three goals so far in the World Cup, said: 'It was the most difficult decision of my life. The offer from Everton was good and attractive.

'But deep inside England did not really appeal to me and that was decisive. I am enjoying myself and have security here.'

The Portsmouth manager Jim Smith has put a pounds 2m price tag on the Ireland international, Alan McLoughlin, who is wanted by Middlesbrough. The new manager at Ayresome Park, Bryan Robson, has offered pounds 600,000, but Smith said: 'If Mr Robson wants Alan McLoughlin then it will cost three or four times the price I've seen quoted.'

Paul Gascoigne hopes to return to football by Christmas, nine months after breaking his right leg, Lazio said yesterday. The England midfielder had surgery in early April to repair the injury he sustained during a training session.

A club spokesman said Gascoigne would have tests on the leg in Britain on Monday and join the club for a summer training trip to Switzerland in July. 'The doctors have said it will be January before he can play but Gascoigne says he plans to be back by Christmas,' the spokesman said.

Ipswich's former England Under-21 international Phil Whelan may miss much of next season. Whelan, 22, broke his left ankle during Ipswich's last home match of the FA Premiership season, against Manchester United.