'We will talk to Roy at the right moment'

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The Independent Online


34-year-old's current £80,000 to £90,000 a week contract.

Ryan Giggs is currently tied to such terms, though his basic wage increases dramatically once he passes the threshold of approximately 20 games.

Those improved terms are then backdated to the start of the player's contract and United officials, who view Keane's comments as an invitation to commence negotiations as much as a signal that he is ready to seek pastures new, are willing to open talks with the midfielder's lawyer Michael Kennedy in advance of the April deadline which their captain insisted was "too late".

United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz has revealed that Ferguson intends to talk to Keane over his decision to air his intentions in public and there is no doubt that the United manager will lead the delegation enticing the inspirational captain to stay, even though the coaching role that has been suggested no longer appeals to the man from Cork.

"At the right moment, and in the right way, the manager will address the situation with Roy," said Queiroz; "The reaction is simple: from the management side our most important priorities are to win the next game and to deal with the appalling injuries we have at the club.

"Then the manager, at the right moment and in the right way, will address the situation. The right way will be to deal with it in private and in confidence, not in public."

United are loath to lose a man who has come to symbolise so much of the club's success since his arrival from Nottingham Forest in 1993, although Queiroz was more pragmatic in his assessment of Keane's situation.

He added: "We were aware of the statement immediately after; we are aware of everything that is said about the club, but not before, you have to have free speech.

"I don't see anything disturbing in his words, if you think about the position, contribution, age, performance and history of a player like Roy at this club, then I think the words he said were very natural. You don't replace great players, whether they are Pele, Maradona, Eusebio or Roy Keane, you just create new players in new teams, that is the only way the game moves forward."