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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 10:20 GMT
Keeper Niemi seals Fulham switch
Antti Niemi
Fulham have signed goalkeeper Antti Niemi on a two-and-a-half year deal.

The 33-year-old Finn joined Fulham from Southampton for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around 1m, after passing a medical on Monday.

"Antti is an intelligent goalkeeper of great ability and with proven credentials at the very highest level," said Fulham boss Chris Coleman.

"I believe he will be a great addition to our squad and we look forward to welcoming him here."

Fulham have beaten Premiership rivals Charlton, Everton and Portsmouth in the race to sign the Finn.

Coleman is expected to name Niemi as his number one, despite also landing on-loan Tony Warner on a permanent basis.

The Finn had an outstanding career at Southampton and made 123 appearances in his two-and-half year spell at the club.

I am still sad to be leaving Southampton. I have had a great time and some wonderful memories
Antti Niemi

After Saints were relegated at the end of last season, Niemi was keen to return to the Premiership and is ready to push on with Fulham.

"I met with Coleman and was very impressed with the amount of time he spent with me discussing future plans," said Niemi.

"I am looking forward to joining the squad for training and to being back in the Premiership again.

"But I am still sad to be leaving Southampton. I have had a great time and some wonderful memories - although relegation last season was the worst moment of my career."

Meanwhile, Saints boss George Burley plans to use the cash to bolster his squad elsewhere rather than seeking a straight replacement for the Finn.

"It was not a financial decision to sell, simply that Antti wanted the chance to secure a Premiership contract at this stage of his career," said Burley.

The new Southampton boss may now weigh up a move for Everton keeper Richard Wright, who is out of the picture at Goodison Park.

The pair worked together at Ipswich before Wright moved to Arsenal.


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