Football: United snap up Nevland

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Juninho? Batistuta? Desailly? Erik Nevland? Alex Ferguson has been rumoured to be chasing the first three, but meanwhile he has repeated his trick of raiding Norway for a young unknown.

The Manchester United manager has agreed a four-year deal for the Viking Stavanger striker, Erik Nevland, who scored two hat-tricks in trials for the champions last season.

But the 19-year-old was quick to assert that he is not the new Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. "I hope to do as well for United as Ole, but it might not happen so soon. I am not as good as him yet," Nevland said. "I will maybe need a season or so to break through."

The hopes of Gadi Bromer, the Israeli defender, returning to Old Trafford on trial have been hit by an ankle injury.

Newcastle signed Shay Given, the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, yesterday for a fee to be decided by tribunal, and will now test whether they have to pay a transfer fee in a move that could bring the British transfer system to its knees.

The Ireland international's contract with Blackburn expires at the end of June, and Newcastle plan to seek clarification from the tribunal on payment for out-of-contract players involved in domestic transfers.

"Following the European Court of Justice ruling in the Bosman case, the requirement for the payment of a compensation fee at the end of a player's contract may be unlawful where the player moves between two British clubs," Newcastle said.

Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association's chief executive, was puzzled when told of the move. "If it's true I'll be very surprised because we have been talking with the Premier League, FA, and Football League about refining the transfer system in Britain and Newcastle's chief executive Freddie Fletcher is on the negotiating committee."

Blackburn's new manager, Roy Hodgson, has made his first addition to his staff by recruiting Mick Brown as chief scout. Brown, who was assistant manager to Ron Atkinson at Manchester United, leaves the same post at Coventry.

Liverpool have paid Tranmere pounds 100,000 for Lee Jones after his successful spell on loan.