Chelsea complete signing of Maniche

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The Independent Online

Chelsea last night completed the signing of Portuguese midfielder Maniche. The 28-year-old international has joined on loan until the end of the season from Dynamo Moscow with a view to a permanent £5m transfer on a three-year deal.

It will be the third time that Maniche has played under Jose Mourinho who inherited him at Benfica and signed him for Porto. He was a key part of the club's Champions' League success and was bitterly disappointed not to be signed by Mourinho when he first took over at Chelsea.

Maniche, who can play in a variety of midfield positions, has endured an unhappy time in Moscow where he has failed to settle. He will provide cover for the now injured Michael Essien - who may not be fit to join up with Ghana for the African Nations' Cup - and will also be eligible for Chelsea's European Cup campaign and the tie against Barcelona for which Essien is suspended.

"He is a solution in midfield," Mourinho said.

Maniche, who had appeared set to join Atletico Madrid before Chelsea's intervention, is likely to be the only arrival at Stamford Bridge during the transfer window this month.

Business will be much brisker at Portsmouth with the manager Harry Redknapp, bolstered by the expectation of a cash injection from Russian millionaire Alexandre Gaydamark, pursuing his interest in a number of players.

Last night Portsmouth signed the Polish international striker Emmanuel Olisadebe from the Greek side Panathinaikos until the end of the season.

A £5m bid is likely for Norwich City's Dean Ashton - which falls £2m short of the Championship club's valuation - while another striker, the 27-year-old Zimbabwean Benjani Mwaruwari, looks set to arrive from Auxerre for £4m, although he is also wanted by Marseilles.

Redknapp has also targeted Sean Davis and/or Michael Brown from Tottenham Hotspur but has been rebuffed in an approach for Pedro Mendes. A move for Newcastle United's Amdy Faye is also being discussed and while Redknapp is also searching for a goalkeeper he is highly unlikely to land Chelsea's Carlo Cudicini.

The club has made enquiries about Celtic's 33-year-old Chris Sutton, who is available for £300,000 as he is out of contract this summer and has also attracted interest from Everton. His agent Tony McGill confirmed that he was holding talks with interested clubs.

The departures at Portsmouth are also continuing apace with Laurent Robert signing for Benfica and the midfielder Zvonimir Vukic set for a return to Partizan Belgrade.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are targeting a midfielder from the French league during the January transfer window, the club scout Gilles Grimandi has revealed. Grimandi did not reveal the identity of Arsène Wenger's potential targets, with the Arsenal manager having previously ruled out a move for St Etienne's Didier Zakora.

However, the former Arsenal midfielder, who now scouts for the Gunners, told the French radio station RMC: "There are a lot of great players in Ligue 1 in France. We may propose a contract to a midfielder who plays there." Wenger is short of central midfield cover following the sale of Patrick Vieira, although he does have Alexandre Song on loan with a view to a permanent move, along with Gilberto, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini.

The Mexican youngster Carlos Vela was, meanwhile, reportedly due in England for talks over his future this week, with Arsenal set to farm him out on loan to Celta Vigo as he awaits a European passport.

Arsenal have recently concluded an agreement with the Spanish club for the mutual development of players and that could be the ideal staging post for Vela.

"There isn't anything official yet from Celta Vigo. I suppose I will know something this week once I get to England and meet the officials of Arsenal," Vela said. "Then it will be decided where I will play but for the moment there isn't anything for sure with Celta. I'll travel to England and, once I get there, they will tell me which team I will play for."

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