Football: West Ham capture Hislop for free

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The Independent Online
SHAKA HISLOP, the Newcastle goalkeeper, will join West Ham on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling once his contract at St James' Park expires on 30 June.

The arrival of Hislop, an England B goalkeeper, will renew the competition for the No 1 spot at Upton Park. It was held for the final five matches of last season by Bernard Lama, but the French international has ended his temporary contract and returned to Paris St Germain. Hislop is likely to start the season as first choice, with Craig Forrest and Ludek Miklosko behind him.

The 29-year-old was born in Hackney but raised in America. He made a name for himself when playing for Reading before securing a pounds 2m move to Newcastle, but he fell out of favour after Kenny Dalglish signed Shay Given.

Paul Kitson, the West Ham striker, has been ruled out of the first two months of next season after having further surgery on the groin injury which kept him out for most of the last campaign.

Kitson has returned home from Belgium, where he was operated on in Antwerp by a Belgian specialist who is considered to be a world authority on the type of groin injury affecting him.

West Ham's physiotherapist, John Green, said: "So far as we can tell, the operation went very well and now it is just a case of giving time for the healing process. The operation was to cut the muscles around the groin to release tension. It is a very common procedure in Europe and usually takes about eight weeks to heal."

Kitson's absence is a blow to the Hammers, who are already without striker John Hartson for the opening game of the campaign because of suspension.

Kitson's stop-start season saw him make 17 appearances for West Ham, scoring five goals. The club narrowly missed out on a Uefa Cup place and their manager, Harry Redknapp, believes Kitson's absence cost the side 20 goals.

"The way Paul and John hit it off and scored goals when they joined us the previous season shows how important they are to us," Redknapp said. "It is vital for us to get the partnership with Hartson back together as soon as possible."

With Samassi Abou as the only available first-team striker for the start of next season, Redknapp may be forced to buy this summer.

Morten Wieghorst is still uncertain about his future at Celtic despite reports that he has signed a new one-year deal with the Scottish champions. The Danish international midfielder, who was sent off yesterday while playing against South Africa in the World Cup finals, was a regular during the club's first title success in a decade but the arrival of Scotland's Paul Lambert midway through last term, plus the re-emergence of Phil O'Donnell during the last weeks of the season, have left the 27-year-old unresolved about his long-term future.

The player's agent, Leon Angel, yesterday insisted his client was still considering his options after enquiries from several other clubs. "We're still in negotiations with Celtic and nothing has been signed yet," he said. "Morten is keen to stay there if we can sort out the right deal but he has received approaches from other clubs in Europe and in England."

Jurgen Klinsmann yesterday quashed rumours that he was about to join Borussia Dortmund. "A return to the Bundesliga is out of the question," said the 33-year-old former Tottenham striker.

Crewe Alexandra's manager, Dario Gradi, hopes to sign the Torquay United striker Rodney Jack in a pounds 500,000 deal today. Crewe have money to spend and Jack's signing would exceed their existing transfer record if he agrees terms.