Football: Solano poised to sign for Arsenal

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NOLBERTO SOLANO will become Arsenal's first signing of the summer when he completes a pounds 3.75m transfer from the Argentine side, Boca Juniors, in the next 48 hours by signing a contract believed to be worth about pounds 16,000 a week. The versatile Peruvian, who can play in midfield or at right back, has dual nationality and will not need a work permit.

However, Arsenal have failed to prise Ronald de Boer away from Ajax. According to Dutch television, the Amsterdam club has rejected a bid of pounds 9.25m for the international midfielder from the English Double winners. "A transfer is out of the question and will stay that way," Ajax's financial director, Maarten Oldenhof, was quoted as saying.

Brian Laudrup will head for the World Cup finals relieved at finally completing his transfer to Chelsea. Colin Hutchinson, Chelsea's managing director, flew to Copenhagen yesterday to sign Laudrup, whose contract with Rangers expired on 31 May.

Rangers are still seeking compensation for the 29-year-old Danish international, who has signed a lucrative three-year contract. He is Chelsea's second signing of the summer, following the pounds 5.4m capture of Pierluigi Casiraghi.

John Hartson has been offered a pounds 5m contract by West Ham that would make him their highest paid player at more than pounds 15,000 a week and keep him at the club until 2005.

Steve Bruce is to talk to Sheffield United today about their managerial vacancy. Arsenal's David Platt has dropped out of the running to take charge at Bramall Lane, but he was unlikely to have been offered the job anyway. Everton's No 2 Adrian Heath remains in the running.

Mel Stein, Paul Gascoigne's business advisor and lawyer, said yesterday he would have advised the Middlesbrough midfielder against publicising exclusive confessions in a national newspaper earlier this week, but he could not be contacted last Sunday or Monday because he will not work on a Jewish holiday because of his strict religious beliefs.