Delmotte, celebrating his 35th birthday today, played an important role in helping Lyon dominate French football in recent years, culminating in three consecutive title successes. However, his final campaign at the Gerland was hampered by injuries and he figured just once in the 2003/04 campaign.
Another French club, FC Nantes Atlantique, have boosted their squad ahead of an imminent UEFA Intertoto Cup challenge. The Ligue 1 side have signed the 26-year-old left-back Alexander Viveros on a three-year contract from Boavista FC. His arrival has increased speculation that defender Sylvain Armand may leave Nantes.
Across the channel, former England Under-21 captain Gareth Barry has been rewarded for good form last season by Aston Villa FC. The 23-year-old has agreed a new four-year deal as he had just 12 months left on his existing contract. Meanwhile, Villa forward Juan Pablo Ángel was receiving treatment in Colombia after picking up an infection following surgery for a knee injury sustained on international duty.
Meanwhile, three of Villa's Premiership rivals have been busy. Charlton Athletic FC have handed Jamaican international striker Kevin Lisbie a new three-year contract while Blackburn Rovers FC have given 22-year-old midfield player Jonathan Douglas a new three-year deal. Finally, Bolton Wanderers FC have offered Michael Bridges a chance to kick-start his career after a free transfer from relegated Leeds United AFC. The 25-year-old, who spent part of last season on loan at Newcastle United FC, has been handed an initial one-year contract.
Another player hoping for better things is Austrian international Markus Weissenberger. The 29-year-old was relegated with German side TSV 1860 München last season and has now joined fellow demoted side Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer. Weissenberger believed his chances of a return to the Bundesliga were better with Eintracht and has agreed a three-year deal.
Staying in Germany and FC Schalke 04 have secured the immediate future of youngsters Fabian Lamotte and Christofer Heimeroth. The 21-year-old right-back Lamotte has been given a further 12 months while 22-year-old goalkeeper Heimeroth has extended his contract until summer 2006. Both players made their debuts in the 2003/04 season.
In Belgium, top-flight newcomers FC Brussels have signed three new players to aid their survival hopes next time around. The 22-year-old Ivorian striker Venance Zézéro and 24-year-old midfield player Davy Theunis have moved from KAA Gent on two-year deals while the 28-year-old Frenchman Fritz Emeran has agreed a one-year contract with a 12-month extension option after leaving French side FC Gueugnon.
Haank steps down
Finally, promoted Dutch club De Graafschap, who triumphed in last week's Eredivisie play-offs, have seen chairman Derk Haank stand down after four years in charge. Haank said he could no longer combine his duties with his normal working life and will be temporarily replaced by vice-president Ab Ruesink.
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