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Transfer Watch:Boro miss out as Wigan sign Caldwell

GARY Caldwell became Wigan Athletic's third acquisition of the month yesterday, after the centre half left Celtic for an undisclosed fee and signed a four and a half-year contract at the DW Stadium.

After days of negotiations, Middlesbrough had been informed that Caldwell would be prepared to play for them in the Coca-Cola Championship, only for the 27-year-old to have a change of heart.

Dead certs

Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan has completed the signings of Barry Robson, Willo Flood and Chris Killen from Celtic, his former club.

Robson has agreed a contract until the summer of 2012, Flood's deal expires in June next year and Killen has signed until the end of the season.

The successful completion of the deals will come as a boost to Strachan, who will hope to be able to include his new recruits in the squad for Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship clash with Sheffield United.

Boro currently lie in 11th place in the table, 14 points adrift of an automatic promotion place.

They have not given up hope of reeling in top two Newcastle and Nottingham Forest, although they realise their best chance of making a swift return to the top flight could be via the play-offs.

Partizan Belgrade forward Adem Ljajic has joined Fiorentina and will sign a four-and-a-half year contract with the Italian club pending a medical, the Serbian champions said on their website (www.partizan.rs).

Ljajic was wanted by Manchester United last year but his move to Old Trafford fell through after the English champions said last month they were unable to obtain a work permit for the 18-year-old who has yet to make an international appearance.

Decent bets

The agent of Stefano Okaka has confirmed that the 20-year-old Roma striker will join Fulham on a six-month loan deal on Monday.

Long shots

Stoke City have not been put off by Steve Bruce's claim that they and Birmingham City cannot afford Kenwyne Jones, the Sunderland striker.

"Until I know what he is looking for, it's impossible to say if he's right in what he is saying," Peter Coates, the Stoke chairman, said.

Bruce is not in the market for Younes Kaboul, and Avram Grant, the Portsmouth manager, has played down the chances of the defender leaving the club this month.

The centre-half played no part in Portsmouth's FA Cup third-round replay against Coventry City on Tuesday night, but Grant said that the 24-year-old's absence was caused by a toe infection. (┬ęthe Times, London)

Irish Independent