Football: Ferguson hits out at Kluivert

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The Independent Online
ALEX FERGUSON yesterday made public his disgust that Patrick Kluivert has turned down a move to Manchester United and insisted that he still intends to sign Dwight Yorke from Aston Villa.

The Old Trafford manager said he had been led to believe that Kluivert wanted to join United - for pounds 9m from Milan - but that the player had now committed himself to another 12 months in Serie A in Italy.

"It won't be the last time this kind of thing happens but players we really want we usually get," Ferguson said. "We were led to believe he wanted to speak to us, but you know what agents are like. Maybe he doesn't know how big a club Manchester United is."

It is the second time that Kluivert has talked himself out of a move to England. The 22-year-old Dutch striker's excessive wage demands cooled recent interest from Arsenal, although it now seems, if he did choose to move to the Premiership in the future, he would prefer London to Manchester.

"I'm surprised he didn't give himself the opportunity to speak to us and now we hear he wants to go to London," Ferguson said. "If that is where he wants to live, there is nothing we can do about it."

While Ferguson is clearly unhappy not to have secured Kluivert's services, the rejection seems to have strengthened his resolve to sign Yorke.

Clubs competing in the European Champions' League - and United should qualify by beating LKS Lodz over two legs later this month - have until 18 August to register their squads and Ferguson is desperate to reinforce his before then. "We would be very disappointed if we didn't register anyone by the Champions' League deadline," he said.

"We are still interested in Dwight and hopefully something can be done about that this week."

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has given himself another 24 hours to sign the Argentinian defender, Nelson Vivas. The Gunners have agreed a pounds 2m fee with Vivas' Swiss club, Lugano, and the player has already completed his medical. "We are hopeful of completing the transfer very quickly but we need one more day to have a chance," Wenger said.

Wenger denied speculation that he had made an offer for Real Madrid's Dutch midfielder, Clarence Seedorf. "He is a great player but we have a strong midfield," he said.

Aston Villa have warned Everton they will call central defender David Unsworth back for training if his pounds 3m move to Goodison Park is not finalised shortly. Unsworth left Villa last week, joining former club Everton within a week of arriving at Villa Park in a pounds 3m move from West Ham. His transfer back to Goodison Park has yet to be completed and Villa are beginning to lose their patience.

"It has got to the extent that the manager is threatening to call Unsworth back for training," a Villa spokesman said. "Naturally we are inquiring about the delays but Everton insist that they are purely technical."

The Villa manager, John Gregory, meanwhile, said yesterday he will maintain an interest in Atletico Madrid's Juninho. "As far as I know, Juninho is definitely not for sale, but if there are any developments in the future then I would be interested in a deal," he said.

The Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, yesterday warned Paul Gascoigne to stop drinking alcohol. The 31-year-old midfielder has been left out of Glenn Hoddle's 29-man pre-Euro 2000 training get-together and Robson said: "There's a right time to go out and enjoy yourself, and there's a right time to knuckle down and get on top of your fitness before you do enjoy a couple of drinks, and that's what Gazza's got to do."

Chelsea plan to appeal against the sending off of Dennis Wise in the 4-0 friendly defeat by Atletico Madrid in Arnhem on Tuesday. Wise could miss the opening three games of the Premiership season if the the Dutch FA passes on details to its English counterparts.

The former Liverpool striker, Ian Rush, has signed a one-year deal to become the player-coach at Wrexham.