Jordi Cruyff appeared to have faltered yesterday after Barcelona insisted the deal was on hold because the Dutchman had insisted he should move to Old Trafford on a free transfer.
The United manager, Alex Ferguson, returned home from Spain yesterday convinced he had secured the unsettled son of the former Barcelona manager, Johan Cruyff, for pounds 1.35m.
However, later in the day a spokesman for the Catalan club said: "Relationships between the two clubs have been broken after the player insisted that United must pay nothing to us."
The 21-year-old Dutchman, one of only a handful of Netherlands players to impress during Euro 96, is keen to leave the Spanish club since his father was replaced by the former England manager Bobby Robson as coach in the close season. He is confident the deal will proceed.
"I think in the end the deal will be made because Barca are very eager to get rid of me," Cruyff said. "If I stay, they'll make it tough. They can't stand to see my face. The real reason is they don't want any Cruyff around, but they won't say that. "
One transfer deal that appeared to have gone through yesterday took a surprising turn when Nigel Martyn opted to join Leeds United instead of Everton, who believed they had signed the Crystal Palace goalkeeper.
Leeds' interest in Martyn had stalled when a takeover row prevented any cash being made available. However, the sale of Gary McAllister to Coventry City for pounds 3m facilitated the former England goalkeeper's switch to Elland Road.
Palace, meanwhile, have been ordered by a transfer tribunal to pay pounds 400,000 for the Southampton midfielder Neil Maddison. The Saints themselves will have a tribunal decide the fee for the 21-year-old Stoke midfielder Graham Potter, who moved to The Dell yesterday.
A former Palace player was recruited by Glenn Hoddle yesterday. The new England coach has appointed Peter Taylor as the first full-time manager of the Under-21 team. Taylor, capped for England in the 1970s, will combine his role with scouting duties for Hoddle while Dave Sexton remains as a senior advisor to the Under-21 coaching staff.
The Welsh international midfielder Jeremy Goss has travelled to Edinburgh to secure a move to Hearts. The free transfer from Norwich quit Charlton on Monday for "personal reasons" only a couple of days after agreeing to join them.
Kenny Dalglish's son, Paul, is having a trial at Liverpool with the chance of a contract if he impresses in pre-season games.
The Vauxhall Conference champions, Stevenage Borough, will appeal against yesterday's High Court ruling that denied them promotion to the League because it was decided they had brought their action too late.
Former Rangers manager Jock Wallace died yesterday aged 60.Reuse content