Football: Ferguson hopes to start Silvestre at Anfield

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED hope to bring in Mickael Silvestre in time to make his debut against Liverpool on Saturday.

United are ready to hire a private jet to pick up Internazionale's French defender if he agrees to join them. Silvestre is on under-21 duty in Armenia and will fly back with the senior squad after their game tonight, arriving in Paris at 2am. If the defender agrees to join United in a pounds 3.25m deal then he will be whisked to Manchester to take a medical and train with his new team-mates.

This will be welcome news for United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who is desperate for reinforcements for the Liverpool game. He is without Roy Keane, Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen and Wes Brown. Silvestre could even appear at left-back, the position Liverpool wanted him for but the role he prefers not to play.

There was bad news for Ferguson yesterday, however, when Uefa, European football's governing body, refused to register United's new goalkeeper, Massimo Taibi, for this season's Champions' League because he was not eligible to play for the club on 31 August, the transfer deadline. United have appealed and Uefa will consider the issue on Friday.

Nourredine Naybet, the Moroccan full-back, who looked destined for Old Trafford last week until United discovered he could not play in the Champions' League, may still be on his way to the Premiership. Tottenham are making a move for the 28-year-old defender who is valued at pounds 5.5m.

Asia has formally called off its threatened boycott of the 2002 World Cup finals, bringing to an end its dispute with the world governing body, Fifa. The boycott threats were scrapped after the Asian association agreed to accept a play-off place offered by Uefa. Initially, Asia had only been handed four places at the tournament with a play-off chance against a European side. They had demanded five automatic places.

Germany has been confirmed as the first stop on the tour by Fifa officials as they examine at first hand individual bids for World Cup 2006. Following the visit to Germany in October, the six-strong committee will travel to England, followed by trips to Brazil, Morocco and South Africa.

Leeds will play their Uefa Cup first round, first-leg tie against Partizan Belgrade in the Netherlands, although the exact venue is still to be decided. Uefa will make their final announcement this morning after checking out the suitability of Vitesse Arnhem's ground for the game a week tomorrow.

Bradford City are poised to sign Bruno Rodriguez, a striker with the French first division side Paris St-Germain, the player confirmed yesterday. Rodriguez said that agreement had been reached between the two clubs and that the transfer would be in the form of a loan with an option to buy at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Steve Yates, the central defender, signed a three-year contract with the First Division club Tranmere Rovers after completing a free transfer from Queen's Park Rangers.

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