Arsenal join the chase for Southgate

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The Independent Online

The Arsenal manager, Arsÿne Wenger, has joined the chase for Aston Villa's transfer-seeking Gareth Southgate. He is trying to beat Chelsea to the signature of the England central defender and is willing to top Gianluca Vialli's latest £6m offer.

The Arsenal manager, Arsÿne Wenger, has joined the chase for Aston Villa's transfer-seeking Gareth Southgate. He is trying to beat Chelsea to the signature of the England central defender and is willing to top Gianluca Vialli's latest £6m offer.

Southgate remains keen to quit Villa Park despite some impressive performances since the start of the season, with Wenger looking at Southgate.

The defender cannot play in Europe as he is cup-tied with Villa, so he could concentrate on domestic competitions. Chelsea have had three bids dismissed by Villa so far.

The Barcelona midfielder Ronald de Boer has denied being contacted by the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, in an attempt to bring him to Old Trafford.

However, the unsettled Dutch international did admit on his own website yesterday that he has been speaking to officials at the Catalan club about his future.

"Apparently I have been linked with a transfer to Manchester United and it has even been suggested that Ferguson phoned me to discuss such a move last week," De Boer wrote. "These rumours simply aren't true. I have spoken to both Barcelona's coach and president with a view to sorting out my present situation with the club."

The row between Liverpool and Middlesbrough over the transfer of Christian Ziege took a new twist yesterday when the Anfield club confirmed that he had signed a contract with them over the weekend. However, despite effectively becoming a Liverpool player Ziege cannot play for them as Middlesbrough have yet to release his registration papers. It comes as a frustrating blow for Liverpool, who want to complete the transfer before Friday's deadline to register players for the Uefa Cup.

The Everton manager, Walter Smith, is ready to join the bidding for the Danish international Soren Colding.

The Bradford City defender Andy O'Brien could be out for two months with a fractured collar bone.

The Derby captain, Darryl Powell, could be missing for the next five weeks with a recurrence of a groin injury.

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