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Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Ferguson delighted with Evra deal

Manchester United have tied up their 5million move for Monaco full-back Patrice Evra after the Frenchman passed his medical.

Having cleared the only barrier to the deal being completed, the 24-year-old could make his debut in Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

'He is a good age and he is still developing as a player, which is always exciting,' said manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

'We have been monitoring him all season and it is fantastic that he is joining Manchester United.'

Fulham made their third signing of the month as Antti Niemi completed his move from Southampton.

The 33-year-old former Finland goalkeeper returns to the Premiership after spending the first half of the season with Saints in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Niemi has signed on for two and a half years, with Saints believed to have received around 1million, some of which they are planning to reinvest before the end of the month.

'Antti is an intelligent goalkeeper of great ability, and with proven credentials at the very highest level,' Fulham boss Chris Coleman told 'I believe he will be a great addition to our squad and we look forward to welcoming him here.'

The deal for Niemi follows the arrival of New Zealand midfielder Simon Elliott from Columbus Crew, and that of goalkeeper Tony Warner, who signed a permanent deal following a loan spell from Cardiff.

Niemi is expected to be Coleman's preferred choice in goal, and said: 'I am looking forward to joining the squad for training today and to being back in the Premiership again.'

Cardiff brought in their second striker in two days, with one other heading out of Ninian Park.

The Bluebirds signed Scotland international Steven Thompson from Rangers, 24 hours after bringing in former Darlington striker Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, while Alan Lee has left Ninian Park for Ipswich.

Thompson, a 27-year-old Scotland international, spent three years at Rangers but found himself pushed to the fringes of Alex McLeish's squad following the signing of Kris Boyd.

'I'd grown a bit frustrated at not playing regularly and when Rangers signed Kris Boyd I made my mind up I wasn't prepared to be his understudy,' said Thompson, whose contract was due to expire in the summer.

'The length on my contract will enable me to get my teeth into the challenge of establishing myself as first-choice here at Cardiff.'

Ipswich signed Republic of Ireland striker Lee, 27, on a deal, believed to be for 100,000, until the summer of 2006.

'Everything here is Premiership class and I want to play my part in helping Ipswich get back to the highest level,' he told the club's website.

Hull have signed Falkirk striker Darryl Duffy on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

'He's a different type of striker, who is very quick. We wanted a bit more pace in the team and we've been having a look at him for a while,' said manager Peter Taylor, who wants to add a fourth striker to his squad to provide competition for Duffy, Craig Fagan and Billy Paynter.

MK Dons have extended Charlton defender Mark Ricketts' loan deal for a third month despite his lack of action recently.

The 21-year-old centre-half did not figure for the Dons throughout the second month of his deal after picking up a knee ligament injury.

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