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Former Aston Villa team-mate Paul Merson
"I've never seen anybody work as hard as him in training"
 real 14k

Thursday, 18 January, 2001, 16:58 GMT
Bosnich signs for Chelsea
Mark Bosnich
Mark Bosnich: Endured a torrid time at Man Utd
Chelsea have signed goalkeeper Mark Bosnich on a free transfer after his contract with Manchester United was terminated by mutual consent.

The 29-year-old's second stint at Old Trafford ended ingloriously on Thursday morning when United announced that he would be leaving the club.

Chelsea then moved in quickly to sign the 29-year-old Australian international on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

But they ominously warned him that "competition for the number one jersey will be tough".

Chelsea managing director Colin Hutchinson said: "He knows competition for the number one jersey will be tough.

"But he is prepared to work hard to get into the team and does not expect to walk into the side immediately.

'Brighter future'

"Mark wants to play for Chelsea. He is hungry to win things and put the past behind him - he has a few points to prove.

"Top teams need three quality keepers. We now have four in Mark, Ed de Goey, Carlo Cudicini and Kevin Hitchcock."

Claudio Cudicini
Cudicini: Currently Chelsea's number one keeper
Bosnich's agent Steve Kutner said: "Mark is absolutely delighted to be joining Chelsea.

"They are a very successful club with ambitions that mirror Mark's own.

"At this time Mark does not wish to dwell on the past but only look towards a brighter future with Chelsea.

"Over the next few weeks he will be concentrating on getting back to full match fitness after his recent hernia operation so that when he is called upon by Chelsea he will be ready.

Brief statement

"Mark would like to thank the players, directors and supporters of Manchester United for the respect and friendship that they always showed him." He also argued that Bosnich was leaving United on his own terms.

"We always said that the only way Mark would leave Manchester United was on a free transfer," Kutner said.

"We had been saying that ever since he had not been playing in the team."

Manchester United had earlier announced Bosnich's departure with the briefest of statements.

"We have terminated Mark Bosnich's contract by mutual consent and, in doing so, we wish him well for the future," it read.

Third choice

Bosnich was hailed as Peter Schmeichel's successor when he arrived on a free transfer from Aston Villa in May 1999, but his fortunes soon dipped.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson clearly had doubts about Bosnich, signing Massimo Taibi for 4.5m in August 1999 and then French international Fabien Barthez for 7.8m the following season.

Taibi was a flop and soon returned to Italy, but Barthez has been a success, and with Raimond van der Gouw also at the club, Bosnich became third choice goalkeeper.

Although he made 35 cup and league appearances for United last season, he has not made any appearances this term.

Early in January, Australian coach Frank Farina urged Bosnich to quit United and move to another club to protect his international place.

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18 Jan 01 |  Football
Bosnich's Man Utd misery
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