Real sign Brazilian Flavio in £15m deal

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Real Madrid's pre-season spending spree continued yesterday when they signed the Brazilian international Flavio Conceicão and the Frenchman Claude Makelele.

Real Madrid's pre-season spending spree continued yesterday when they signed the Brazilian international Flavio Conceicão and the Frenchman Claude Makelele.

Flavio joined from the Spanish champions, Deportivo La Coruña, for 4,100m pesetas (£15m), while Makelele's move from Celta Vigo cost 1,800m pesetas. Real have now added seven players to their squad.

Middlesbrough could face problems with their Croatian striker Alen Boksic obtaining a work permit. The 30-year-old Lazio striker flew out of Teesside yesterday after all but completing his move to the Premiership, subject to being granted a permit. Boro face the possibility that the initial application will be refused because of his recent lack of international football and his failure to command a regular club place. However, Boksic's reputation should stand him in good stead for an appeal.

Watford broke their transfer record yesterday by completing the signings of Allan Nielsen and the goalkeeper Espen Baardsen from Tottenham. Danish international Nielsen completed his £2.25m move, beating the Hornets' record of £1.5m for Heidar Helguson in January. Baardsen has moved for £1.25.

The Saudi Arabian international striker Sami Al-Jaber is on trial at Wolves with a view to a possible permanent deal. The 27-year-old - known as "The Blue Fox" in Saudi Arabia - has played in two World Cup finals for his country and scored 44 international goals in 80 appearances.

The Premier League are investigating a potential claim of up to £2.5m in wages by Pierluigi Casiraghi against Chelsea following the club's move to end his contract after receiving a £4m insurance pay-out.

Chelsea received the pay-out after tests were carried out on the serious knee injury which the Italian suffered in November 1998 and on which he has since had 10 operations. The club gave him six months' notice earlier this year which is due to expire on 17 August.

From then on, Casiraghi would no longer be a Chelsea player and not entitled to receive wages for the two years remaining on the contract he signed when he arrived from Lazio two years ago. However, Casiraghi believes his career is not at an end, and his advisors have contacted solicitors with a view to making an appeal to the Premier League's board or taking possible civil action.

Stanislav Varga is set to become the second player from Slovakia to play in the Premiership following his £650,000 move to Sunderland from SK Slovan Bratislava. The 27-year-old defender follows in the footsteps of Vladimir Kinder, who played for Middlesbrough.

Barcelona's Dutch midfielder Phillip Cocu claimed yesterday that Arsenal have made a bid for him - and that he would like to play for the Gunners. The 29-year-old, who still has another year to run on his contract, said: "What I understand is that Arsenal made an offer for me, but Barcelona said that I was not for sale. Arsenal are a great team, and I'd like to play for them."

The midfielder DannySonner has left Sheffield Wednesday and joined Birmingham on a free transfer.

A notorious decision to deny the Brazilian striker Ronaldo a penalty during a vital Serie A match between his club Internazionale and Juventus in April 1998 will not be the subject of a court case, an Italian judge ruled on Thursday. Juve won the match 1-0, effectively ending Inter's challenge and sealing their own title.

Fearing corruption, Turin magistrates opened an investigation to see if there were grounds to take action against match referee Piero Ceccarini and the officials of other suspect matches. But a judge, Francesco Saluzzo, ruled yesterday that there were no grounds.

The former Leeds striker Tony Yeboah told a German court yesterday that his former club Eintracht Frankfurt was to blame. The Ghanaian, now with Hamburg, is alleged to have evaded tax on DM2.3m (£67,000).

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