Middlesbrough's increased bid of pounds 8m for the player was rejected over the weekend. Aston Villa have also spoken to Everton at chairman-to-chairman level and want to be considered by Ferguson when he makes his choice.
Rangers will have to come up with a record bid to bring back the player they sold to Everton for pounds 4m. Walter Smith, the Everton manager, knows he has problems up front - his team have yet to score - but Ferguson is the fans' favourite. If he could find a suitable replacement, though, Smith would be prepared to release the player.
Tottenham's David Ginola, who was furious at being denied a penalty in his team's 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday, has admitted that he has employed gamesmanship in matches to secure an advantage.
The Tottenham midfielder confessed that he had dived in the past to earn penalties for his side. "Of course," Ginola said. "Who can say `I never did.' Because sometimes it is natural. Your normal feeling for the team is for getting a free-kick or maybe you can earn a penalty.
"It was definitely a penalty against Everton. He [David Unsworth] was in my back and I was going towards goal. When you run, you don't look back and sometimes you do a little bit more. But in this case I never did. It was just a bad decision.
"There was so much discussion after the World Cup about cheating and diving and things like that.
"Sometimes, for me, it is right for me to do something more than the normal things."
The Frenchman appealed to match officials not to let reputations of players influence their decisions in the future.
"It is a hard job," Ginola admitted. "But we all try to understand the referee but you have to understand that forwards are tackled all through the game.
"Modern football is very tough. You have the contact so sometimes you have to make the right decision.
"If you book me because I dive, OK. But the next time if it is a penalty, you have to whistle for a penalty."Reuse content