Football: United withdraw Salas offer

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Manchester United are pulling out of their bid for the Chilean international Marcelo Salas, because his club will not reduce their pounds 12m valuation.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, wants the River Plate striker, but the Argentinian club have refused to come down on their asking price. River Plate are willing to sell, but it is all a question of timing. The club's president is up for re-election at the beginning of next month and stands little chance of success if he sells Salas now.

The Argentinians are not prepared to haggle as they feel they will find another buyer for Salas now or at the World Cup finals. For United's part, the plc board is unlikely to grant Ferguson the full pounds 12m.

River Plate will want to be well compensated for the loss of Salas and reportedly value him at pounds 18m. As United weigh up their options, they are aware other footballing giants such as Barcelona and Milan could also make an attractive offer.

Salas has achieved hero status in Chile since he broke into the national team two years ago.