Real offer record £46.5m for Zidane

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Talks were taking place with a view to completing the world's most expensive transfer yesterday. Real Madrid confirmed that they had met officials from Juventus to secure the services of Zinedine Zidane for £46.5m, about £10m more than they paid Barcelona for Luis Figo last year.

"Everything has gone very well," the Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, said. Juventus confirmed that negotiations had taken place, adding that "after long discussions the two sides agreed to meet again next week", when Zidane will be back from holiday in Tahiti.

The French midfielder, the World Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000, and possessor of World Cup and European Championship medals, has been a target for Perez ever since he announced his candidacy for the Real presidency last summer.

Juventus spent around £23m of the money that they hope to receive for Zidane on Gianluigi Buffon, the 23-year-old Parma and Italy goalkeeper. It is a world-record fee for a keeper. His signing follows Juve's £22m capture of the French international full-back Lilian Thuram, also from Parma, last month.

Manchester United have been told by Arsenal to stop attempts to sign Patrick Vieira. United were warned that there could be a possible complaint to Uefa, the game's European governing body, if the unsettled French midfielder ended up at Old Trafford.

The Gunners have told United that they would take the matter further because Vieira's agent, Marc Roger, is not licensed by Fifa, the game's world ruling body. United could face possible financial penalties and the player a ban if Uefa finds any wrong-doing. In past years Celtic and Alan Stubbs were punished for using the unlicensed agent Neil Rioch.

United are, though, closing in on the Lazio and Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, with his advisers sorting out the small print on a £24m move to England.

Charlton Athletic have signed Jason Euell for a a club-record fee of £4.75m. The Wimbledon striker signed a five-year contract at The Valley after rejecting approaches from Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

Southampton are set to sign Rory Delap from Derby County in a £6m deal. The Saints hope to complete the signing this week by paying around £4m up front, with the rest of the fee based on appearances.

Newcastle United have made a record £9.5m bid for the Paris St-Germain striker Laurent Robert. Aston Villa have turned down a player-swap approach from the Paris club for their £9.5m record signing, the Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel.

The Tranmere Rovers manager, Dave Watson, is set to name the Carlisle United manager, Ian Atkins, as his new No 2. Bolton Wanderers are set to sign the veteran striker Rod Wallace from Rangers on a free transfer.

Middlesbrough's former England defender Gary Pallister is bringing his playing career to an end because of persistent back trouble.

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