Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Man United picks up Nemanja Vidic of Spartak Moscow

AP , LONDON

Manchester United completed the transfer of Spartak Moscow defender Nemanja Vidic on Thursday, while experienced striker Chris Sutton moved from Glasgow Celtic to Birmingham City.

Manchester United, out of the Champions League and falling behind Chelsea in the Premier League title race, has paid a reported ?7 million (10.15 million euros) for Serbian defender Vidic.

Although Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson could throw Vidic straight into action in Sunday's FA Cup game against non-league Burton Albion, the Serb may have to wait for his debut because he has been unable to play since the end of the Russian domestic season and needs to get match fit.

Manchester United reportedly is chasing Monaco fullback Patrice Evra, who is also interesting Inter Milan. Monaco appears resigned to losing Evra and left him out of Thursday's French league game against Auxerre but wants ?5 million (7.25 million euros) for the defender.

With Argentina leftback Gabriel Heinze expected to be out for the rest of the season and in danger of missing the World Cup, Manchester United needs another player at that position.

"There has been contact made with Manchester United," Monaco vice president Gerard Brianti said Thursday. "Evra has said himself that he wants to leave."

French press reported that Manchester United had already bid 6 million euros and that around 8 million euros would be enough to persuade Monaco to sell.

"We have received no suitable offer for the moment," Brianti said.

Evra has won six French caps and made 120 league appearances for Monaco.

Sutton, whose goals and partnership with Alan Shearer helped Blackburn Rovers win the Premier League 11 seasons ago, returns to English soccer after a long spell with Celtic. The versatile 32-year-old, who can also play in central defense, scored 86 goals in 199 appearances for Celtic and has signed for Birmingham until the end of the season.

Five days into the transfer window, which lasts until the end of January, business is brisk.

Portuguese midfielder Maniche moved to Chelsea from Dynamo Moscow until the end of the season to team up with Blues manager Jose Mourinho for the third time. He played for Mourinho at Benfica and PC Porto, winning the UEFA Cup and Champions League with Porto.

Dutch defender Jan Kromkamp met up with his Liverpool teammates after a move from Spanish club Villarreal and Josemi moving the other way.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez hopes to follow up the Kromkamp deal with a move for central defender Daniel Agger from Danish club Brondby and remains interested in Benfica winger Simao Sabrosa.

Other moves to go through this week were Yaniv Katan's transfer from Maccabi Haifa to West Ham, Polish international striker Emmanuel Olisadebe switched from Panathinaikos to Portsmouth and French winger Laurent Robert left Newcastle for Benfica.

Robert's arrival could persuade Benfica to let Simao go, although the Portuguese club is going strong in the Champions League and may keep its stars.

Benfica defender Jose Fonte traveled to London on Thursday for talks with Fulham, although the clubs are yet to agree transfer terms. Fulham is also waiting on international clearance before it can conclude the transfer of New Zealand midfielder Simon Elliott from Major League Soccer club Columbus Crew.

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