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Football: OFFSIDE- the latest gossip.

CHELSEA boss Claudio Ranieri will make Italian youth star NICOLA NIEDDUhis first signing in the summer.

The 18-year-old has impressed Ranieri while on trial and is set to make the move permanent. Nieddu was keen to make the switch from Fiorenzuola to London as he is a big fan of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.

The deal will be completed with the Serie C side at the end of the season.

GLENN Roeder is considering a bid for Spurs defender GARY DOHERTY. The West Ham boss is desperate to bring in at least oneplayer to strengthen a back four which is threatening to drag the club down. Roeder was interested in Monaco's JOSE KARL-PIERRE FANFANbut is unconvinced the central defender would cut it in the Premiership.

Spurs have been trying to use Irish star Doherty as pounds 1m makeweight in a deal to buy Bolton's Michael Ricketts. But now Roeder wants to take him on loan until the end of the season with the view of a permanent deal.

CHARLTON are interested in Fulham captain ANDY MELVILLE. Addicks boss Alan Curbishley wants an extra central defender and the 34-year-old could be offered a two-year deal.etts' transfer request and is desperate to bring in a striker before the transfer window slams shut. Allardyce's options are limited because of the tight financial constraints but will do everything he can in a bid to bring the 27-yearold Spanish international in on loan.

SUNDERLAND'S season is set for a ray of sunshine as American World Cup ace CLAUDIO REYNA is back on the mend. Black Cats midfield star Reyna, 30,suffered a setback against Bolton in October after twisting his knee, and flew out to America withnational orthopaedic consultant Bert Mandel Boum last year to undergo the knife.

SASA ILIC is training with former club Charlton in an attempt to resurrect his career in England. Ilic has spent the last six months in Hungary playing for Zalaegerszeg, who faced Manchester United in the qualifying round of the Champions League in August. He's training with his old teammates while searching for another club in England.
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Title Annotation:The PREM
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2003
Words:350
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