New Bhoy Zheng to miss Euro campaign

ZHENG ZHI will not be able to play in Celtic’s Europa League group games after UEFA yesterday confirmed he was not registered in time.

The Hoops were today trying to wrap up the free transfer of China captain Zheng, who arrived in Glasgow yesterday evening to pen a reported two-year deal.

Although the 29-year-old is able to complete a move outside the transfer window, Celtic needed to register the player with the Scottish Football Association by 11pm last night for him to be eligible for European competition before the new year.

UEFA revealed yesterday this had not happened, meaning Zheng – who is able to play both in midfield and up front – will be forced to sit out the Hoops’ European campaign until the knockout round begins in February.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have continued to put their faith in youth by handing 21-year-olds Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson new long-term deals.

The Gunners have impressed during the opening games of the new campaign, the only loss a narrow 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.

Manager Arsene Wenger has long championed the potential of his young side, with Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie as well as fellow youngsters Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs all signing new deals recently.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has not given up hope of landing Real Betis midfielder Achille Emana in the next transfer window.

A late loan move for Emana, a player McLeish had previously caught sight of during his time at Toulouse, fell through on Tuesday.

McLeish may look at resurrecting the deal in January, maybe on a permanent basis, although much will depend on City’s position in the Barclays Premier League at that stage.

Owen Hargreaves has been included in Manchester United’s Champions League squad.

Hargreaves is not due back at United’s Carrington training complex until September 23 to step up his rehabilitation work after undergoing operations on both knees to cure a career-threatening tendinitis problem.

By that time, United will have already started their quest to reach a third successive Champions League final against Besiktas in Istanbul.

In theory, Hargreaves would be available for the home encounter with German champions Wolfsburg on September 30. More likely though, the former Bayern Munich star will come into contention later in a group that also contains CSKA Moscow.

Bayern Munich have denied reports a deal is in place to sell Franck Ribery to Real Madrid next summer.

The France winger was the notable missing piece in Madrid’s jigsaw as they signed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema.

Now with the transfer window closed, speculation has already started about a possible move in 2010.

“We haven’t made any agreement,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “This is talk which has come from Spain and France, but we will deny it because it’s false.”


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