Football: Wenger chases Rushfeldt

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The Independent Online
ARSENE WENGER, the Arsenal manager, is moving quickly to solve his striking problems with a bid to sign Rosenborg Trondheim's Sigurd Rushfeldt.

Wenger is in talks with the Norwegian club about a pounds 3.5m deal for the tall target man, who would give extra strength to his attack. The Gunners are bidding for honours at home and abroad with just one senior striker, Dennis Bergkamp, and have yet to replace the combative Ian Wright in their squad.

Rushfeldt is a British type of striker, powerful and good in the air. He has improved with age after an unsuccessful spell at Birmingham City a few seasons ago. Rosenborg are still in the Champions' League, so he could not play for Arsenal in Europe this season.

Coventry have also turned to Scandinavia in their efforts to find a replacement for Dion Dublin, who joined Aston Villa yesterday. The Sky Blues' manager, Gordon Strachan, has targeted the Norwegian pair of Andreas Lund and Rune Lange as possible targets.

Lund, a Norwegian Under-21 international, has scored 15 goals in 22 games for Molde this season while the pounds 3.5m-rated Lange has been on target 24 times in 30 games for Tromso.

Strachan, who yesterday signed the Belgium Under-18 international Laurent Delorge from Ghent for pounds 1m, admitted: "We are looking in Scandinavia for talent. It's an area that has been very fruitful for us, as has been proved in the past with our signing of Magnus Hedman, Roland Nilsson and Trond- Egil Soltvedt."

Celtic are another club following the same route - yesterday they confirmed their interest in the 27-year-old Swedish international midfielder Johan Mjallby. The Scottish champions have made an offer of around pounds 1m to his club, AIK Solna, who reportedly want at least pounds 1.5m.

Crystal Palace's Chinese pair, Sun Jihai and Fan Zhiyi, who have both been shown red cards within the last week, will be out of the country on international duty when their bans are in force.

Sun was sent off at West Bromwich on Tuesday while Fan, who was allegedly involved in an altercation with the referee Terry Heilbron after that game, was dismissed at Grimsby last weekend. By the time their suspensions take effect, however, they will be playing in the Asian Games for China.

The Palace coach, Terry Fenwick, said: "The Chinese boys leave next week and will be away for a month if they reach the final. It is rather handy that the suspensions will be covered while they are away."

Oxford United's players have dropped their strike threat after finally being paid last month's wages. The hard-up First Division club were unable to pay the October wages on time last Friday and players threatened not to play at Watford tomorrow, but the salaries went into their bank accounts yesterday.

The referee Rob Styles, who sent off the Birmingham striker Peter Ndlovu against Huddersfield after booking him twice for diving, has withdrawn one of the cautions after studying a video of the Blues' game with the Terriers. Only the Zimbabwean's first caution now stands.

The Nottingham Forest manager, Dave Bassett, has fined his French striker, Jean-Claude Darcheville, for wearing jewellery. The former Rennes player was ordered to remove a gold ear-ring by the referee during last week's Worthington Cup tie against Cambridge United, and has also been fined for breaking League rules.

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