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Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins
"I'm sure he'll be a very valuable asset to the club"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 16:46 GMT
Weah cleared for debut

Weah was voted World Player of the Year in 1995

Chelsea's new signing George Weah has been given official clearance to make his debut against Tottenham on Wednesday.

The former World Footballer of the Year joined the west London club on Tuesday from AC Milan on loan until the end of the season.

George Weah
Former clubs: Tonnerre de Yaounde (Cameroon), Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan
Honours: French title, French Cup (three times), Italian title (twice)
1994: African Footballer of the Year
1995: European and World Footballer of the Year
There had been some concern that the red tape would not be completed in time for the 33-year-old Liberian forward to take part in the showdown with Spurs at Stamford Bridge.

But international clearance was received from the Italian Football Association just 90 minutes before the deadline of 1700 GMT.

Weah is now free to link up with his new team-mates for the Premiership derby - just hours after stepping off a plane from Italy.

Weah, who left Milan after being frozen out of the first team by younger players, is likely to come face to face with former Paris St Germain colleague David Ginola in his first game.

It is no secret that we are after strikers but we don't want a quick fix, we are looking for younger player
Spurs boss George Graham

Spurs have been searching for a striker of their own but manager George Graham was politely scornful of Vialli's new signing.

"I'm not surprised that Weah has joined Chelsea until the end of the season because of their Italian connection. But it all depends if you want a quick fix.

"We are trying to build something here and so we are looking for younger players."

Blue target

Graham aims to add Chelsea to this season's illsutrious scalps of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

"Chelsea and Leeds are the other teams you want to do well against.

"They are the yardsticks and the fans are always looking at the quality Chelsea have got.

"I had two very happy years there as a player and I always enjoy going back there.

"Chelsea are a team who will be pushing for a Champions League or Uefa Cup place and so if we can stay ahead of them I think it means we will finish in the top six, no question."

Sutton faces axe

Weah is likely to partner Norwegian Tore Andre Flo up front, at the expense of 10m summer signing Chris Sutton.

Sutton was given a rare start last weekend - when Chelsea squandered several dozen chances in a 1-1 draw with Bradford City.

Sutton and Gianfranco Zola have failed to score more than five goals between them in a total of 39 starting appearances this season.

Weah adds yet another nationality to Chelsea's squad, with representatives already from Italy, France, Holland, Nigeria, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, Finland, Romania, Brazil - and the UK.

Chelsea may have boosted their firepower but have severe defensive woes ahead of Wednesday's clash.

They will be without Celestine Babayaro, who has linked up with the Nigerian squad for the African Nations Cup, while Jes Hogh, Albert Ferrer and Marcel Desailly are all unavailable although Frank Leboeuf is back.

Spurs Dutch winger Willem Korsten is hoping to make his debut at Stamford Bridge following a long injury lay-off and Darren Anderton could also return after being out for four months.

But Spurs are still without Les Ferdinand, Oyvind Leonhardsen and Steffen Freund.

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