Football: Bosnich set for United return

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MARK BOSNICH, the Aston Villa goalkeeper, may be on the verge of rejoining Manchester United, the club where he started his career in English football. The 27-year-old is expected to join the new European champions on a free transfer under the Bosman Ruling to replace Peter Schmeichel, who played his last game for the club in the European Cup final on Wednesday.

Bosnich played three games for United between 1989 and 1991 before returning to Australia to renew his work permit. He returned in 1992 to sign a two- year contract with Villa, even though United thought they had an agreement with him to return to Old Trafford.

Martin Edwards, the Manchester United chief executive, has implied that a deal for Bosnich is imminent after repeated speculation throughout the season. "I think things will evolve fairly quickly," Edwards said. "It could happen in the next few days."

The Dutch international goalkeeper Edwin Van der Saar, another rumoured United target, recently decided to join Juventus, leaving Bosnich well- placed to land the position.

The return of Bosnich to Old Trafford would surprise many after the United manager Alex Ferguson's public disappointment over his decision to join Villa seven years ago.

"I'm very disappointed after all we did for him," Ferguson said at the time. "We had an understanding that if he came back to England it would be to join us."

However, Ferguson clearly feels that United need a keeper more experienced than their current reserve goalkeeper, Raimond van der Gouw, to help maintain their impetus after this season's successes.