Football: Salas bid is not ruled out by Ferguson as United's coffers swell

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The Independent Online
Manchester United's Salas saga took another twist yesterday when the Premiership club announced that they have not entirely ruled out buying the pounds 12m-rated Chilean striker, Marcelo Salas. They could afford him, after all.

"I'll be talking to the chairman [Martin Edwards] and we'll have a chat about the situation," Alex Ferguson, the manager, said.

Edwards revealed the talks to shareholders during United's annual meeting, at which the club announced record profits of pounds 27.6m.

If Salas does go to Old Trafford, Andy Cole will be standing in his way, having signed a new five-year contract yesterday. The signing was announced at the AGM and ends speculation that Cole could be the subject of a bid by Aston Villa.

All is not rosy at the Red Devils' domain, however. Some United supporters have reacted angrily to a warning at the AGM from Edwards that sections of Old Trafford may be closed if supporters continue to stand.

"We have been warned that we could be in trouble with the local authority," Edwards said, but Andy Walsh of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association said if that happens, the club will be the ones to blame.

"If parts of Old Trafford close, then that will be United's fault for refusing to listen or talk with the fans," he said. "The areas where standing occurs most are in the lower parts of the stadium, where views are poor. If they sat down and discussed these issues properly with supporters' groups then a lot of these problems could be addressed. But all we get is obstruction and an unwillingness to co-operate. The club treats the ordinary fans with contempt."