The Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer will be out of action for at least four months after undergoing surgery on his injured knee in Copenhagen.
Gronkjaer had an operation on Monday and his surgeon, Eilif Larsen, admitted that the Danish international could miss the rest of the season.
"It takes time to recover from this sort of operation," Larsen said. "Jesper will be on crutches for the next few days, after which he will be allowed to walk.
"In a short while he can then start his rehabilitation, but for the first three months we're mostly talking about cycling, swimming and building up his strength. No running." Gronkjaer joined the London club from Ajax for £8.5m last season, but his Blues debut was delayed after an earlier knee injury.
"We hope that he'll be ready to play in four months' time, but we also have to be realistic and say that it could take five or six months before he's completely fit," Larsen said.
The Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness, is on the verge of signing the Sweden Under-21 captain, Nils-Eric Johansson, in a £2m-plus deal to improve his defence. Johansson, who plays for the Bundesliga side Nuremberg, will fly in to sign for Rovers after leading his country in World Cup action on Saturday.
The Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren is ready to give the Troyes left-back Luciano Zavagno the chance to solve his defensive problems. Zavagno is due at the Riverside in the next few days on a brief trial and could move in a £1m deal from the French club.
The Leeds manager, David O'Leary, is believed to be interested in signing the young Argentinian talent Andres D'Alessandro after flying out on a spying mission to Argentina earlier this week.
D'Alessandro, who was poised to join West Ham in January for £2.5m only for the move to fall through, comes highly recommended by Leeds' chief scout, Ian Broomfield. But Leeds have dismissed speculation linking them with a £4m move for the Southampton left-back Wayne Bridge.
The Rangers chairman, David Murray, yesterday ruled out any chance of the club rekindling their interest in the Derby County midfielder Seth Johnson. Rangers had a £6m bid turned down last month.
Harry Redknapp has to decide whether to return to management with Leicester or commit himself to First Division Portsmouth. The former West Ham manager is preparing to meet the Foxes chairman, John Elsom, but revealed that he is fascinated by the "great potential" at Fratton Park, where he is director of football. Redknapp denies that he has already discussed a move with Elsom.
The Tottenham midfielder Willem Korsten has been forced to retire from football at the age of 26 because of a hip injury. The former Netherlands Under-21 international had no option but to end his career after recurring injury problems and specialist advice from two senior European hip consultants.
The players' union last night rejected a new offer of television money from the Premier League, intensifying the threat of a possible strike. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, described the new offer as "unacceptable".
The improved offer is understood to amount to £9.85m, including £5.75m from the Premier League and £1.4m from the Football League.
The Watford midfielder Paolo Vernazza is recovering from stab wounds after an attack by an intruder in his Islington home, the club said. Vernazza was stabbed in the leg in the incident and he is expected to be out of action for at least a month. Also attacked was Vernazza's former Arsenal youth team colleague, Andrew Douglas, who needed emergency surgery.
The Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison has urged his manager, Steve Bruce, to sign the on-loan defender Steve Vickers permanently. The Republic of Ireland international is in Dublin with the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Cyprus and he believes that Vickers has made a significant difference to the Eagles since his move from Middlesbrough.
The Manchester City winger Nicky Summerbee has turned out for Bradford City in a friendly against Huddersfield.
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