Arsenal have underlined their desire to ensure Patrick Vieira not only stays at the club but eventually succeeds Tony Adams as captain by appointing the Frenchman as vice-captain.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, made the decision after a summer in which Vieira has continually been linked with a move away from Highbury.
Vieira had been quoted as saying he wanted to leave the club, but Arsenal insist the Frenchman denies the comments and will not be leaving, pointing to his appearances in pre-season friendlies as proof of his commitment to them.
While the Frenchman has not gone public on his feelings, the fact that he captained the Arsenal side in the absence of Adams for last night's friendly against Norwich – being chosen ahead of Martin Keown – is being seen as a significant step.
The Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger has signed for Fiorentina on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move. Manninger had just a matter of hours to wait before pulling on the Italians' jersey for the first time against Tottenham in a friendly last night.
The Newcastle United midfielder Kieron Dyer will be out of action for another month after his latest injury setback in training 10 days ago.
However, the injury is not as bad as first thought – a muscle tear and not a recurrence of the shin problem which has kept the England international out for six months.
Lee Hughes has agreed to sign for Coventry City and his move to Highfield Road is expected to be completed today. West Bromwich Albion have confirmed that the Sky Blues' £5,000,001 bid for the striker has been accepted. Hughes had a clause in his contract stating that he could leave for any fee in excess of £5m.
The Republic of Ireland winger Keith O'Neill has completed his move to Coventry from Middlesbrough. No fee has been disclosed for the 25-year-old.
The Aston Villa manager John Gregory is expected to fly to Croatia today in a quest to make Bosko Balaban, the Dynamo Zagreb striker, Villa's fifth foreign summer signing in a £6m transfer.
The Croatian international, 23, is due to play for Dynamo against Flora Tallinn, of Estonia, in a Uefa Cup tie, but Gregory hopes to close the deal in time to preserve his eligibility for Villa's anticipated participation in the same competition.
Birmingham City have re-signed the goalkeeper Kevin Poole just over a month after releasing the 38-year-old from St Andrews, while another veteran keeper, the former Wimbledon man Dave Beasant, will sign for Portsmouth today on a short-term contract. Millwall have completed the signing of the former Portsmouth striker Steve Claridge.Reuse content