Brian Little, the Aston Villa manager, finally got his man yesterday when Portuguese full-back Fernando Nelson completed his pounds 1.75m move to Villa Park.
Little revealed that he had been tracking the Sporting Lisbon player for several years, even before he signed Gary Charles to fill the right- back slot. When Charles broke his ankle last season, an injury that will keep him out until the new year, Little had no hesitation in renewing his interest in Nelson.
"There is no doubt that we are adding a top quality player to our squad for next season," Little said. "He's had a medical, met the players, speaks good English and is very excited about coming to Villa."
The Leeds manager, Howard Wilkinson, is seeking guidance from the Professional ers' Association on the legality of withholding Tomas Brolin's wages. Brolin failed to report for pre-season training after being granted three extra days holiday to try and arrange a move to another club, with Italian sides Verona and Fiorentina at the top of the list.
Wilkinson said yesterday: "Tomas has expressed a desire to play in Italy and he doesn't want to come back. My understanding is that if a player doesn't turn up for work we should not have to pay him. He has had a warning, but has not come back for training."
Sunderland have signed goalkeeper Tony Coton on a three-year contract after finalising a pounds 600,000 deal with Manchester United. Coton was swayed by Sunderland's new-found Premiership status, and said: "Wolves also offered me a player-coach role, but I still want to play in the Premier League."
Coton will have the added responsibility of coaching the young goalkeepers at Roker Park. He made a surprise pounds 400,000 switch to Old Trafford from Maine Road six months ago, but never figured in Alex Ferguson's starting line-up.
Chris Makin is poised to move from Oldham to Marseilles. The England Under-21 full-back played a secret trial game for the former European Cup winners on Thursday and hopes to agree terms on a two-year deal this weekend.
Sheffield United have completed the signing of Peter Kachuro from Dynamo Minsk for pounds 650,000. Kachuro, a Belarus international, said yesterday: "Sheffield United are a great club. I will be doing my very best to prove to the fans I am a very good buy. I am hoping at the very least to score 15 goals in my first season."
Bermuda's international striker Shaun Goater has joined Bristol City from Second Division rivals Rotherham in a pounds 175,000 deal.
England's bid for World Cup qualification could once again see them playing in red after kit manufacturers Umbro revealed plans to jettison the much- maligned indigo shirts.
When the England side were unable to wear their first-choice white shirts for the semi-final against Germany, calls for a return to red - their colour for the 1966 World Cup final triumph over Germany - found overwhelming public support
Umbro have admitted that they have been forced into a rethink by the weight of public opinion and are planning to phase out the indigo strip.