Jeffers the £10m 'fox in the box'

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The Independent Online

Francis Jeffers, the 20-year-old Everton striker, last night fulfilled a dream by joining Arsenal for £10m. The England Under-21 international became Arsène Wenger's first summer signing after passing a medical and tests on his ankle and shoulder injuries.

Arsenal moved in yesterday and agreed to match Everton's valuation of £8m up front, plus instalments. Newcastle United had accepted that arrangement two weeks ago, but Jeffers wanted to go to Highbury where he will double his salary to about £25,000 a week.

Wenger is happy to pay now for Jeffers rather than wait for his Everton contract to expire in a year. Jeffers had been trying to leave Everton for months but his ambition was hindered by an ankle ligament problem and then a dislocated shoulder.

"I didn't want to go anywhere else even though I had other offers," he said. "It's a massive club, one of the biggest in Europe, and for them to be interested in me is magnificent."

Wenger said: "Maybe people will be surprised that I have signed an Englishman but I looked at his quality and not his passport. Francis is that 'fox in the box' we have been talking about and although he is a goalscorer I want to develop him as a team player."

There was also a new face at Chelsea, where Frank Lampard completed a £11m move from West Ham. The England midfielder, who is 23 next week, signed a five-year contract on the day that his former club revealed Glenn Roeder as their new manager.

"I think everyone knows how I felt. A lot happened at West Ham but I will always be grateful to them ­ they gave me my chance," said Lampard, whose uncle (manager Harry Redknapp) and father, Frank Snr, (assistant manager) left the club in May. "It's always been my ambition from day one to play European football. I think I can take my game on from here and win a lot of medals."

Lampard becomes the first English signing by the Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri, as the Italian seeks to restructure his team. William Gallas, the French defender, has already joined and a deal for Emmanuel Petit likely by the end of the month.

The Southampton midfielder Hassan Kachloul is to sign for Ipswich. The Moroccan international had also been pursued by Celtic and Derby County after deciding he would leave The Dell when his contract expires at the end of the month. Kachloul's Saints team-mate, the forward Luis Boa Morte, has completed a permanent move to Fulham for £1.7m.

Manchester United are involved in talks with the Lazio midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron. The player's agent, Gustavo Mascardi, is flying to Manchester today, but Veron's price (£25m) and wages (£90,000 per week) may prove too high.

The Football Association has denied reports that it had approached the Leicester City manager, Peter Taylor, about taking charge of the England Under-21 squad again. The FA maintained the only discussions with Leicester were over whether Taylor can continue in his assistant's role with England.

The Nationwide Conference is to implement a play-off system to decide promotion to the Football League. Proposals to introduce a two-up-two-down system of promotion and relegation with the Third Division were thrown out last Saturday at the League's annual meeting but the Conference, at its own agm, has responded by introducing a play-off to decide the single promotion place.

From next season the top team in the Conference will automatically progress into the play-off final and will play whichever team wins a play-off, comprising semi-finals and a final, involving the second, third, fourth and fifth-placed sides.

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