McClaren signals start of spending with Christie

Alan Nixon
Thursday 23 January 2003 01:00

Middlesbrough have won the race to sign Derby County's England Under-21 striker Malcolm Christie. Boro will take Christie on loan with a view to a £2m at the end of the season.

Christie has also been chased by other Premiership clubs, including Manchester City and Leeds United, but he is keen to reunite with the Boro manager, Steve McClaren, who was his coach at Pride Park.

The move was delayed as Derby wanted to broker a double deal which included the centre-half Chris Riggott, but that has yet to be finalised and may now be called off by both sides.

McClaren is also in the process of signing another Derby old boy, Seth Johnson, from Leeds, with a fee of £4m in instalments being paid.

Birmingham City yesterday signed the Arsenal defender Matthew Upson in a deal which could rise to £3m. Upson, who was the subject of late interest from Leeds, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal and becomes Birmingham's sixth signing since the transfer window re-opened.

"Arsène Wenger could not convince me that I had a future with Arsenal," Upson said. "We had a talk but he never really convinced me and I guess that's why I left. As soon as a manager leaves it optional for you to go or stay, then, as a player, it is time to leave, and that's what I've done. I thought a lot about it but I'm sure I've come out with the right decision."

Arsenal's attempts to sign the Brazil goalkeeper Marcos have reportedly hit a hitch over personal terms. The Palmeiras player is said to be unwilling to agree to the £2.4m move unless his family can join him in England as soon as he signs.

The Parma left-back Vratislav Gresko has rejected a move to Blackburn. The Slovakian international defender has opted to stay in Italy and fight for his place with the Serie A club.

West Bromwich Albion have abandoned their attempts to sign the Nuremberg defender Tony Sanneh after being upset by comments he is alleged to have made to the German media. The Baggies had agreed a fee for the 31-year-old United States international, but they have pulled out after Sanneh reportedly said: "I do not want to play for a club which is not as good as Nuremberg."

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