Barthez may return to France for Marseilles loan deal

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The Independent Football

Marseilles are considering making an offer to take the Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez on loan, according to their manager, Alain Perrin.

The French club are seeking a replacement for injured reserve goalkeeper Cedric Carasso, who will be out of action for the rest of the season following knee surgery.

"We're still on the Barthez track," Perrin said. "He is in our plans but we have not yet started a serious negotiation to see whether we can reach an agreement. We would be heading for a loan more than for a proper transfer."

Perrin's Manchester United counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, has made it clear that he would only release Barthez as part of a transfer, but the Marseilles manager said: "There are intermediate solutions, like a loan with a transfer option."

Ronald de Boer is winning his fight to be fit for Rangers' vital Champions' League game against United. The midfielder underwent knee surgery last month but is hoping to return against Motherwell this weekend and prove himself ready to take on United, a club who wanted his signature in the summer of 2000.

"Everything is now going as planned," De Boer said. "I'm not rushing it as I only want to come back when I'm 100 per cent fit. There was some bone stuck between my joints and that caused me a lot of irritation and I couldn't stretch my knee properly. So you could say they hoovered my knee a little bit to clean it up. It feels really good.

"Hopefully I should be available to face Motherwell. That's my aim so hopefully there are no late setbacks. It feels good and I'm quite positive that I will be back as good as before."

The then Rangers manager Dick Advocaat beat off the challenge of United to sign De Boer three years ago and the player still says he made the right decision.

"I've had a great time here and I've enjoyed every minute of it so I've no regrets about coming to Glasgow," he said. "I chose Rangers over United as I wanted to play in every game and they were offering me a four-year contract. Dick Advocaat was also at Ibrox along with some of the Dutch players and he knew me well and that influenced my decision."

Rangers are confident they can inflict a second consecutive Champions' League defeat on United next Wednesday. In fact Stefan Klos says he would expect the Scottish champions to beat Real Madrid at Ibrox.

The goalkeeper, who helped knock United out of the Champions' League semi-final for Borussia Dortmund in 1997, said: "Playing against a team like Manchester United will be a great challenge but we are ready for it. It's a home game in the Champions' League and we must try and win these games. It doesn't matter who we are playing - United, Stuttgart or even Real Madrid - as when we are at Ibrox we expect to get a victory."

Dwight Yorke appears to be on his way out of Blackburn Rovers after being axed by the club's manager, Graeme Souness, from last night's Uefa Cup tie against Genclerbirligi. The striker was not even on the bench and has slipped behind Matt Jansen, the Italian former misfit Ciccio Grabbi and even the young Scotsman Paul Gallagher.

Now Souness looks set to cut his losses on Yorke, who seems certain to be sold during the transfer window in January. He cost just over £2m and may now be allowed out for a fraction of that fee.

This season Yorke has failed to recapture his old rapport with fellow striker Andy Cole. The player also fell out with Souness when he was late for a game at the end of last season and was dropped and fined.

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