The French connection: Diomede signs

WORLD Cup winner Bernard Diomede became Gerard Houllier's fourth summer signing as the Reds boss continues to strengthen his squad for next season.

The French international agreed to a three-year deal to become Houllier's fourth summer acquisition after German defender Markus Babbel, Scotland's Gary McAllister and French goalkeeper Pegguy Arphexad.

Liverpool completed a rescue act to sign the winger in a �3million package to bring the 26-year-old to Anfield after months of problems with French club Auxerre.

"I am very happy to join a club with a French coach who I respect and know well," said Diomede.

"I had been told that Liverpool wasn't the nicest of places to move to, but I have seen the city and have found the people and the place very nice and I know I will settle down well there.

"I could have gone to other clubs and earned more money, but my priority is my football and to get back into the national team, and I feel that playing for Liverpool and a coach I know will help me do that."

Diomede flew into Liverpool yesterday by private jet for talks and a medical, before agreeing to join Houllier's Anfield revolution. Houllier has long been an admirer of Diomede's pace and power down the left wing.

The Reds boss was technical director and an influential part of the backroom team as France claimed the World Cup two years ago with Diomede in the squad.

But since then injuries and fall-outs with Auxerre have hampered Diomede's career and he has spent long spells on the bench.

Diomede has since lost his place in the national side, and has been in the international wilderness since Roger Lemerre took over as France's national coach.

Now the Reds boss aims to give Diomede a new lease of life on Merseyside as Houllier builds his squad for next season's UEFA Cup and Premiership challenge.

Diomede, who has won eight caps for France, played in three games early on in the World Cup as the host nation moved towards their final triumph over Brazil to lift the trophy for the first time.

He figured against Saudi Arabia, Denmark and then Paraguay, when he was replaced late in the game by Stephane Guivarc'h, who then stayed in the side until the end of the tournament.

The versatile midfielder, equally comfortable playing in a wing-back role, was strongly linked with a move to Fulham, but snubbed Craven Cottage to try to resurrect his career at Anfield.

Meanwhile, ex-Anfield star Jan Molby has signed a new four-year contract with Conference champions Kidderminster Harriers.

The former Liverpool and Denmark midfielder led Harriers into the Football League in his first season in charge last term.

He said: "I'm delighted to tie myself to the club for the next four years. There's plenty of room for improvement on the playing side and with this contract we now have a commitment for myself and the club to get on with the job in hand."

© Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

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