Toulouse snapped up out-of-favour Etienne Didot

Toulouse have snapped up out-of-favour midfielder Rennes Etienne Didot for their first signing of the summer.

Didot, 24, signed a four-year deal at City for a reported three million euros.

He came through the ranks of Rennes and was captain of the club early last season, but they are not included in the plans of new coach Guy Lacombe, who arrived in December.

"I like to feel involved and the offer was presented to me fitted that," said Didot.

"I remain committed to my region, Brittany, but I wanted a fresh start."

Didot's brother Sylvain played for Toulouse for two seasons and scored the goal that promotes the Ligue 1 in 2003.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Puel new manager for Lyon

LYON, June 18 - New Lyon coach Claude Puel, he insists not exercise the axe in order to attract a Lyon side capable of winning the Champions League.

Puel finally took his new role with the champions of France on Wednesday after being informed by Les Gones president Jean-Michel Aulas, it would have more to say than its predecessors on the club that signs and sells.

Several new faces have arrived at the Stade Gerland already this summer, with several side older players said to be on their way.

But Puel insists there will always be a place in his side for players who have a desire to win, even if their abilities are fading with age.

`` What is important is (the players) have the technical capability but also an unbreakable spirit,''he told a press conference at his official unveiling.

`` The group needs a spirit. It is vital that the players have a spirit Lyon through and through, they have a desire to continue playing here.''

A player who has already expressed his desire to leave the front is young Hatem Ben Arfa, who has been linked with a move to Marseille.

But Puel insists the player is not out of the door just yet, before adding: `` We will take stock with each of them (the players) and includes Ben Arfa.''

Whether the new coach made changes widespread or not, he reiterated Aulas' position that winning the Champions League has been a target, but not at the expense of eighth right Ligue 1 title.

He said: `` We played the competition two years in a row with Lille. Experience has shown us that you can not be half your level of the league to be level with the best parts of the Champions League.

`` But we will play the Champions League to go through.''

Puel also revealed that he was pleased to finally be in Lyon after weeks of speculation in the press, saying he was happy to have left his former club Lille in good shape.

`` It's very flattering to be followed by managers Lyon. Now I must repay their confidence,''he said.

`` After six years in Lille, I come to a turning point in my life. I wanted to take a new project.

Lille: `` The project had been carried forward: the club is healthy, the team is developing a new stadium will be built.

`` I need a new tournament to regenerate me and meet other goals. In other words, I needed something new to think about.''

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Alain Perrin leave as coach of Lyon

LYON, June 16 - Alain Perrin is to leave as coach of seven-times champions Lyon, the Ligue 1 club's president Jean-Michel Aulas said on Monday.

"Perrin is leaving," said Aulas at the inauguration of Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun, signed from Lille.

"We found an agreement that will allow it to leave in good conditions and we were looking for."

According to local media reports, Perrin, who guided Lyon to their first National League and Cup double last season, will be replaced by Lille coach Claude Puel, but Aulas has refused to comment.

"No decision has been taken," he said.

The champions of France said earlier this month they need a manager to help them make an impact in Europe where they have never been further than the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Marius Tresor believes signing Mikael Silvestre will be difficult

BORDEAUX, June 13 (Ligue 1) - Bordeaux assistant coach Marius Treasury believes signing Manchester United's Mikael Silvestre will be difficult as the Roma are also interested in the defender.

Silvestre is one of three objectives Girondins president Jean-Louis Triaud identified for his club this summer who want to improve the second place they achieved during the last season Ligue 1 campaign.

Triaud has already admitted that the capture Silvestre would be complicated because the amount of money he earns now in England.

Now Tresor claims United player himself has revealed Roma are interested, and the former France International believes it is difficult to see competition outside of Italy.

"As regards Mikael Silvestre, I am very worried, it will be complicated," said Tresor French radio station RTL L'Equipe. "I met him not long ago in the Caribbean. He said he was also followed by Roma.

And when these two teams, it will not take a loan at Bordeaux on a final contract in Rome. "

Bordeaux have already completed the loan transfer Yoann Gourcuff of AC Milan, and are currently in negotiations with Caen on their third goal Yoan Gouffran.

Silvestre featured only six times for United last season in three appearances in the Premier League.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Karim Benzema remain at the Lyon

BARCELONA, June 13 (Ligue 1) - Lyon striker Karim Benzema has remained the champions of France after the World Cup in 2010, according to club president Jean-Michel Aulas.

The 20-year leader is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe after scoring 21 league goals for Lyon spearheaded the seventh consecutive Ligue 1 title last season.

Aulas is now Barcelona for the European Club Association (ECA) conference in Camp Nou, and with the catalan would be between giants Benzema admirers, it took time to dispel speculation a deal could be made to sell his star striker.

"In euros, or 40million euros 50mil we sell Benzema's ear, 'Aulas joked to reporters.

"It is not a question of money. The player wants to achieve something important in the Champions League with Lyon.

"It is fortunate the club and it can be seen with his last contract renewal. I am sure he will stay with Lyon until the 2010 World Cup finals. "

Benzema is underway with France at Euro 2008 where the attacker is set from Friday evening is crucial encounter with the Netherlands.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Middlesbrough push home their interest in Didier Digard

Middlesbrough are now working hard to make a home of their interest in the french midfielder Didier Digard.

There was no public comment on the club's pursuit of their 21 years, the Paris St Germain player.

However, £ 4million-rated Digard has been on Teesside for a medical and to begin talks and Boro are optimistic significant progress could be made within the next few days.

They have their approach, knowing that several other clubs are also monitoring the former Le Havre player of the situation, with Newcastle and Portsmouth have also been linked with him.

But Boro hope of beginning their approach gave them an edge as manager Gareth Southgate attempts to strengthen his midfield options.

Southgate's main priority this summer is to add to strengthen in that department after Fabio Rochemback and Gaizka Mendieta to leave the Riverside Stadium.

In addition, his is awaiting a decision by former teammate George Boateng on his future.

The 32-year-old Dutchman has another year of his contract to run, but was disappointed to find itself not an automatic choice last season.

He openly admitted that May to consider leaving the club, although Southgate said midfielder has a role to play in his plans.

The manager said: "It is part of our team here and a very strong party.

"I can not guarantee any player a first team place. We try to create a club where people are pushing for places.

It May have seen it had fallen to the hierarchy and found that difficult, but I think he realizes what I'm doing with the team and the number of games he played speaks volumes ".

Southgate is too hope to retain the services of Gary O'Neil, who initially struggled to settle after his £ 5million move from Portsmouth last summer, sparking rumors he wants to leave.

The former England defender said: "He told me he feels more settled and at this point, I must go hand in hand with that and hope that the situation resolves itself during the summer.

"Gary is a contract to us and he is someone that we do not want to lose."

Indeed, Southgate is now concentrating on recruiting compensation after the bridge of his summer spending plans.

It May have been unwilling to lose goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer - 35 years, has joined Fulham after his contract expired Boro - but is convinced that, in Ross Turnbull and Brad Jones, it has adequate coverage.

In addition to Australia, Rochemback and Mendieta, he also saw Lee Dong-Good Kennedy and Jason head out of the exit door, and has not immediate plans to reduce the number of new ones.

Southgate said the club's official website: "There were a couple of actors who have been frustrated by a lack of first team opportunities last year, but I think they will all want to return to pre - season and see what is the situation.

"It is obvious that if we bring players that will have an impact on their opportunities, but we must try to move the team and continue to grow. Some of the young players to come back stronger from the break.

"The only interest we have had is to take a couple of players on loan, but I am not prepared to take these decisions because everything still one of my players could be the first team.

"If the players stay or go is ultimately our decision, and we have to do good for the club."

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves