United to close £25m Veron deal 'next week'

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The Independent Football

Juan Sebastian Veron will sign for Manchester United next week, according to Sergio Cragnotti. The Lazio president confirmed last night that "the deal will be concluded next week", signalling an end to the protracted negotiations for the Argentinian.

Reports in Italy suggest a British record fee of 80bn lire (£25m) has been agreed for the midfielder, and Cragnotti also confirmed he will resign from the club after hundreds of fans protested against the imminent sales of Veron and Pavel Nedved, who is likely to move to Juventus. Some Lazio fans expressed their disappointment with the club by throwing rocks at the club's training camp yesterday morning.

The England reserve goalkeeper Richard Wright has completed his move to Arsenal from Ipswich Town, in a deal believed to be worth £6m.

The 23-year-old has agreed a long-term deal, reportedly for five years, and becomes Arsène Wenger's fourth signing of the summer, following Sol Campbell, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Francis Jeffers. Wright will fight for his first-team place in the Gunners line-up with the 37-year-old England goalkeeper David Seaman and Alex Manninger.

Leeds United yesterday agreed new five-year contracts with two of their most sought-after players, the striker Mark Viduka and left back Ian Harte. Both players had four years still to run on their present agreement, but accepted new deals after being offered improved terms. Viduka had been linked with moves to Real Madrid and Roma, while Internazionale were reportedly keen to sign Harte.

The Coventry City midfielder Mustapha Hadji has completed his move to Aston Villa. The Sky Blues will receive £2m plus the striker Julian Joachim, who is valued at £2.5m.

The Newcastle United chairman, Freddie Shepherd, is to fly to France today to push through a £9.5m deal for the Paris St-Germain forward Laurent Robert, who has been in dispute with PSG for months. Robert showed his talent by scoring a hat-trick in the Intertoto Cup last weekend.

The website Football365 is urging disillusioned Tottenham fans to put their unwanted Sol Campbell replica shirts to good use by donating them to a village team in Gambia.

Preston North End are close to signing the American striker Brian McBride in a club-record £1.8m deal from New England Revolution. McBride spent a few months on loan at Deepdale last season.

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