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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK
Nilsson heads for Saints
Southampton have signed Sweden midfielder Mikael Nilsson
Swedish midfielder Mikael Nilsson will sign for Southampton next week, three months earlier than anticipated.

The 26-year-old had signed a pre-contract agreement to join on a free transfer when his contract with Swedish club Halmstad expires in November.

But Southampton have persuaded Halmstad to release Nilsson in time for the start of the new Premiership season.

Nilsson played in every minute of all of Sweden's games as they reached the Euro 2004 quarter-finals.

He began the tournament on the right side of midfield in the first game against Bulgaria, but was forced to drop to right back to deputise for the injured Teddy Lucic.

Nilsson played there against Denmark and Italy before showing his versatility by switching to left-back in Sweden's quarter-final against Holland.

He becomes the third Swede at St Mary's, along with Euro 2004 midfield partner Anders Svensson, and central defender Michael Svensson, who missed out through injury.

Saints chairman Rupert Lowe said: "We're bringing him in as a right-sided midfielder but he is a very versatile player.

"He did very well in Euro 2004 and is a quality player with a lot of experience."

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