Transfer Talk: Hughes bolsters back line with signing of Algeria's Halliche

By Giles Lucas
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:37

Mark Hughes has made his second signing since taking over at Fulham, with Algerian international defender Rafik Halliche moving to Craven Cottage on a three-year deal for a reported £1.3m.

The Welshman made his first signing since he took charge of the west London side when he brought in Moussa Dembele from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar for £5m six days ago. Now Halliche, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Portuguese club Nacional Madeira, moves from Benfica and could play in tonight's Carling Cup tie against Port Vale.

"I'm so happy that my transfer to Fulham has been finalised," said Halliche, who played all three games for Algeria in the World Cup last summer. "To be able to play alongside some wonderful players and to be given an opportunity to compete against some fantastic teams for a team like Fulham is something that I've always dreamed of doing," he added.

Meanwhile, West Ham's efforts to bring in Roque Santa Cruz from Manchester City on loan may be scuppered by Lazio.

The 29-year-old, who has scored 21 goals in 70 games for the Paraguay national team, hit just three goals in 19 league appearances at Eastlands last season but his availability has interested the Italian side.

Lazio coach, Edy Reja, said: "Santa Cruz is one of the players we are interested in and we are evaluating [his situation]."

Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has said he is honoured to be linked with a move to Premier League champions Chelsea, but the Bosnian international insists his primary focus is currently at the Britannia Stadium.

"Obviously I'm aware that the gaffer [Tony Pulis] said there was an enquiry," said the 23-year-old. "It is brilliant and I'm really flattered. But in the meantime I just have to get on with my job."

US coach Bob Bradley has confirmed his interest in the vacant managerial position at Aston Villa. When asked yesterday if he would like the role at Villa Park, the 52-year-old said: "Most definitely, the possibility of working in the Premier League at some point would be a goal, for sure.

"They [Villa] are a tremendous club that anybody would have an interest to be involved with."

West Ham United

The striker Alessandro Diamanti has moved back to Italy to newly promoted Serie A side Brescia for £1.8m, with the Hammers receiving another £250,000 if the Rondinelle stay up. The 27-year-old was signed by Gianfranco Zola last August for £6m from Livorno. He scored eight goals in 29 appearances for the club last season as they finished 17th and narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship. "All at West Ham would like to wish Alessandro well for the future and thank him for his efforts in his year at the club," a statement on West Ham's website read. Diamanti's position at the club had been under threat since new manager Avram Grant signed forwards Frédéric Piquionne and Pablo Barrera over the summer.

Sheffield United

The Blades have signed the French full-back Jean Calvé on a season-long loan from AS Nancy. The 26-year-old becomes new manager Gary Speed's first signing and will be available for Saturday's game against Preston. "Jean not only adds to our squad strength but also has the attacking qualities we want," Speed said.


The club have announced the signing of goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a season-long loan from Newcastle United. "It's a fantastic opportunity to come and play in front of 60,000 people," said the 22-year-old. "I'm here to provide competition and I aim to be number one."

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