Football: Wimbledon sign Norwegian

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The Independent Online
Wimbledon sealed a bargain yesterday after a two-year pursuit of Stale Solbakken. Joe Kinnear, the Dons' manager, thinks the 29-year- old Norwegian international midfielder is worth over pounds 2m but Lillestrom, who have just avoided relegation from Norway's top flight, have been persuaded to part with him for a mere pounds 250,000.

Kinnear beat a host of other clubs for the signature of Solbakken, who has 37 caps and played a key role in taking Norway to next year's World Cup finals in France.

"In a normal market he would have been 10 times that. He is pounds 2m-plus worth of talent," Kinnear said. "He is first choice for his position for Norway."

Coventry's Dion Dublin has lost his appeal to the Football Association against his sending-off at Blackburn two weeks ago. He will now start a three-match ban immediately, which means he will miss the Coca-Cola Cup third-round match against Everton tomorrow.

Everton's manager, Howard Kendall, hopes to complete the pounds 1.75m signing of the Sheffield United goalkeeper Alan Kelly this week. Kendall has been in talks with his old club, trying to thrash out a deal.

Ben Thornley, a Manchester United winger once dubbed the new Ryan Giggs, is poised for a pounds 700,000 move to Huddersfield. The left-winger's career was held up by a cruciate ligament injury, but he is fully fit again. Huddersfield had Thornley on loan last year, but has an offer for him rejected.

Tomas Brolin has upset the Leeds manager, George Graham, again by failing to turn up for a reserve game at Liverpool on Saturday.

Sir Jack Hayward, the Wolves chairman, has dismissed rumours linking Ron Atkinson, the former Coventry City manager, with a move to Molineux, and has backed his under-fire manager, Mark McGhee.

Gerry Francis has added another name to the injury list at White Hart Lane - his own. The Tottenham manager has hurt his back playing with his children.