Football: Ferguson advocates new offer to Keane

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The Independent Online
SIR ALEX Ferguson has told his chief executive, Martin Edwards, to break Manchester United's pay structure in an attempt to keep Roy Keane - and sign Rivaldo.

Edwards' final offer of pounds 30,000 a week to the United captain was rejected, but Ferguson told Edwards his pay pact with the club's leading players has to be torn up.

Edwards runs a scheme where the top players are on "comparable terms" for the next three seasons, but Ferguson would be happy to see Keane go on to pounds 50,000 a week, almost twice as much as any other player at the club.

Ferguson then hopes to move for Barcelona's Brazilian. He is in contact with Rivaldo's agents and more talks went on at the weekend.

Keane defended his decision yesterday. "There's nothing wrong with sitting on it until the end of the season," he said. "I'm sure everyone is sick to death of it. I have not made a decision and at least this gives me a year to see what develops. I've still got a year left on my contract and I want to honour that. The most important thing is that I'm happy at United."

Despite his desire to pay Keane what he wants, Ferguson yesterday called for wage-capping. "A lot of clubs are taking big risks with their wage structures and some of those clubs are not so small," he said.

"Wages have to be capped or the game will not be able to cope - something will break. Football has to start thinking about tomorrow rather than what it can do today. I know some clubs are on the brink and with each season the situation only worsens."

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, defended David Beckham after the United player was seen aiming a V-sign towards abusive Leeds fans on Saturday. Beckham's action went unseen by the referee or police.

"When people are chanting disgusting things about your wife, you can't blame them for reacting," said Taylor. "Clubs should set an example to try to alter the behaviour of their fans."

United keeper Mark Bosnich, who was taken off on Saturday with a hamstring injury, is likely to be out for a month.

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