Leeds wrestle with a welcome problem

Mike Rowbottom on the weekend's Premiership action
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The Independent Online
How to honour an arriving Swede? Middlesbrough's fans had it easy when their boy from Brazil, Juninho, made his appearance - don the sombreros, cue samba bands, nothing too tricky. Leeds United's supporters may need to think a bit harder about their welcome for Tomas Brolin, the club's record pounds 4.5m signing, who will be presented to them at today's home match against Chelsea.

Volvos? Smorgasbords? Perhaps they will simply sing something by Abba - "Money, Money, Money" would do nicely in the circumstances.

The Swede's transfer from Parma, all off according to his agent three days ago, has finally gone through, following a late hitch over the paying- off of Brolin's Italian contract, which had seven months to run.

A delay in registration means that Leeds supporters will have to wait before they see whether Brolin, who has failed to earn a regular place in Parma's team since breaking an ankle last season, can link up as expected with the predatory Tony Yeboah.

"I am not on top form now, but I hope to be in a month," Brolin said yesterday. "I hope you respect that and then I will show you what kind of player I am."

Another member of the Premiership's foreign legion, the Romanian international Dan Petrescu, has his chance to show Chelsea's following what kind of player he is as he makes his debut following his pounds 2.5m move from Sheffield Wednesday.

Other overseas players also face challenging afternoons - Dennis Bergkamp experiences his first north London derby when he lines up for Arsenal against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and the Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic, who has played two midweek internationals in four days, needs to rally himself to face the Premiership leaders, Newcastle, for whom Peter Beardsley, now 34, will be making his 650th League appearance.

Beardsley's midweek experience for England was the ultimate in frustration - he was recalled from the touchline after Terry Venables reconsidered his decision to bring him on as a substitute. But the evening was hardly less unsatisfactory for Liverpool's Jamie Redknapp, whose sixth-minute departure from the field with a hamstring injury precludes him from the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Stan Collymore, who has kissed and made up with the club following his outburst in a magazine, has also been forced out of contention because of his mother's sudden illness. Good auguries, perhaps, for Everton, who have not won here since 1987.

Juninho, meanwhile, has had his first taste of the English winter, braving freezing conditions in training and, according to Boro's assistant manager, Viv Anderson, taking it in his stride. On a day when even the player- manager, Bryan Robson, wore gloves, the Brazilian did not. He did, however, opt for tracksuit bottoms.

Considering Middlesbrough's opposition today, he would be well advised to keep them on - he has his first meeting with Wimbledon's Crazy Gang at Selhurst Park.

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