News round-up: Stade Rennais FC have signed a gifted teenager, while Aston Villa FC are keeping one.
Stade Rennais FC have beaten off reported interest from AFC Ajax, Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC to sign the French Under-17 international midfield player Yoann Gourcuff. The son of Christian Gourcuff, a former coach of Rennes and the current incumbent at Ligue 2 side FC Lorient, Gourcuff's first professional contract ties him to the Brittany outfit until June 2007.
Another teenager, Aston Villa FC winger Peter Whittingham, has signed a new contract which runs until 2007. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a memorable season to date, breaking into both the Villa first team and the England Under-21s. "This is brilliant for me but then I still have to pinch myself sometimes," said Whittingham. "I have got myself into the Villa first team - but the key is to try and stay there." Whittingham was taken on as a trainee by Villa after being released by Coventry City FC - the team he supported as a boy.
Whittingham's Villa team-mate Peter Enckelman has been granted permission to join Blackburn Rovers FC on a month's loan. Despite being outside the transfer window, the Premier League were sympathetic to Rovers' cause. Brad Friedel is the only senior goalkeeper available as Alan Kelly and David Yelldell both have injuries. Enckelman, a Finnish international keeper, is expected to be on the bench when Blackburn face Everton FC at home on Monday.
Another struggling Premiership side, Leicester City FC, have lost defender Frank Sinclair for a minimum of six weeks. The Jamaican international sustained an achilles tendon injury when he pulled up suddenly in the latter stages of Sunday's 2-0 Premiership victory against Blackburn at the Walkers Stadium. It was initially thought that the setback would only mean a two or three-week lay-off for the player.
Mommers in at NAC
NAC Breda are in the news in the Netherlands after appointing Theo Mommers as their new general manager and extending the contract of Nebosja Gudelj. Mommers previously saved SC Fortuna Sittard from bankruptcy and is currently the interim manager at SBV Vitesse, another troubled club. NAC's current general manager, Willem van der Hoeven, will become club chairman when Mommers takes up his post on 1 February. Meanwhile, NAC's 33-year-old Bosnian defender Gudelj today committed himself to the club until the summer of 2005.
Finally, Swedish club IF Elfsborg have signed Daniel Alexandersson, brother of Sweden midfield Niclas Alexandersson, from Falkenbergs FF and the 20-year-old Hector Svensson from Floda BoIS in preparation for the 2004 season.