Everton yesterday confirmed that they are in negotiations to sign Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos - but not as a replacement for Joleon Lescott, who is wanted by Manchester City. The Swiss Football Federation had claimed on their website that the 24-year-old international defender's move had been confirmed, but Everton say that a fee has yet to be agreed.
However, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright did say: "We have been negotiating with Arsenal for the transfer of Philippe. Nothing has been concluded yet but talks are on-going." A fee of £6million (Dh18.5m) is being discussed for the player who was on loan to AC Milan last season, playing 15 times. An Everton club source insisted Senderos - who joined Arsenal in 2003 - was not being signed as a direct replacement for Lescott, who is at the centre of a battle with City for his signature. Everton have rejected two bids, £15m and £18m, for the England defender. Lescott did hold talks with manager David Moyes yesterday, but did not put in a formal transfer request.
Senderos is being lined up as cover at the back for Everton, where Phil Jagielka is not due back from a knee injury until November at the earliest. Lescott has been told by Moyes he will not be sold and City have yet to put in a third bid. Everton's stance has been firm throughout the saga, and if Lescott did submit a formal transfer request there is every chance that the club would turn it down. Blackburn Rovers have struck deals to take young strikers Nikola Kalinic and Franco Di Santo to Ewood Park. Manager Sam Allardyce had been eager to strengthen his squad by beefing up his options in attack, and 21-year-old Kalinic and 20-year-old Di Santo provide him with fresh talent.
Croatia international Nikola Kalinic, who was also targeted by Portsmouth, has reportedly agreed a four-year contract with Rovers from Hajduk Split. Rovers will hope there are no problems obtaining a work permit for Kalinic, who is set to cost around £6m initially. Hajduk have agreed a sell-on clause which could result in them doubling their money if Kalinic moved on later in his career. Di Santo has signed on loan from Chelsea for the first half of the season. The Argentine made only a minimal impact on the first team at Stamford Bridge after signing from Chilean side Audax Italiano in January 2008.
He made 16 appearances last term, all from the bench. He will stay with Blackburn until January under the terms of the deal. Rovers will then have first option on extending the deal, should Chelsea be willing to let him stay on. Aston Villa are closing in on the signature of highly-rated Leeds teenager Fabian Delph after the clubs agreed a fee. A statement from Villa confirmed they had been given permission to talk to Delph, 19, while Leeds revealed other top-flight clubs have had bids rejected.
* PA Sport