Fulham steal in to sign McBride as Saha's replacement

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Fulham have wasted little time in filling the void left by Louis Saha's exit by beating Blackburn Rovers to the signature of the American international Brian McBride.

The two-and-a-half-year deal is subject to a medical and the granting of a work permit, but the striker is expected to join from the Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew for an undisclosed fee. The 31-year-old, who has played in two World Cup finals, arrives as the French striker Saha prepares to join Manchester United.

Saha is expected to complete his move by the end of the week when the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, returns with the squad after a break in Dubai. Saha was yesterday having a medical at Old Trafford after the club had agreed a deal in principle - thought to be worth around £12m - with Fulham.

McBride, who scored two goals at the last World Cup, already has Premiership experience after a loan spell at Everton last season, during which he scored eight goals.

The Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, said: "Brian is a great talent who can combine attacking play as well as getting his fair share of goals. He has superb aerial ability and has already proved that he can perform at the highest level. His experience of the Premiership will also prove a valuable asset to us in the coming months."

Ian Pearce has completed his move from West Ham United to Fulham after successfully undergoing a medical at Loftus Road. He was part of a player-plus-cash deal which involved the Wales international Andy Melville going to Upton Park.

West Ham compensated by signing the midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker from Wimbledon. The 19-year-old Dons captain joins on the day that the Hammers' manager, Alan Pardew, prepared to bring in his former Reading colleague Peter Grant to replace the sacked Paul Goddard as his first-team coach.

The Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness, was facing up to a double disappointment. With McBride going elsewhere, he has also had an approach for Middlesbrough's teenage left-winger Stewart Downing rejected. Rovers are short of strikers and midfielders after the departures of Corrado Grabbi and Dino Baggio to Italy, and injuries to key players.

The Football Association has revealed details of the 121-page Rio Ferdinand appeal document they received from Manchester United.

A statement read: "The FA wish to clarify the nature of the appeal documents relating to Rio Ferdinand received [on Monday]. The 121 pages are made up of 96 pages of appendices; 24 pages are the notice of appeal itself; one page consists of a covering letter.

"Every single document will be studied in detail over the coming days. Manchester United's appeal was received at the end of the 14 days they had had to respond to the Disciplinary Commission's decision and reasons." The FA has 21 days from last Monday in which to respond.

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