Chelsea chase Van Bommel as United stick by Veron

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson said yesterday that Juan Sebastian Veron will stay with Manchester United and play against Juventus at Giants Stadium tonight. The United manager claimed to know nothing of reports suggesting a £15m fee had been agreed with Chelsea for the Argentinian midfielder and implied that the player's agent was acting without authority.

"I don't know anything about the speculation," Ferguson said. "Agents talk to a lot of people. They have a lot of power and sometimes they can think different things to the player. But Seba is a mature man. He is very experienced and he knows what he wants."

Fernando Hidalgo, Veron's agent, did confirm last night that Chelsea have made an offer, although he did not reveal a figure, and suggested the player would be happy to move to London.

"When the offer was proposed to us we were willing to accept it, as long as the personal terms would be what the player requested," Hidalgo said.

"I'm not aware of Ferguson's quotes, but obviously Manchester United have the last word. Both clubs will still have to agree to the transfer, but Veron would be equally happy to remain in Manchester."

United will definitely start the season without Gary Neville, who will fly home from the US tour for treatment on a strained hamstring sustained against Celtic in Seattle last week. The injury will rule him out for three weeks.

Chelsea are also chasing PSV Eindhoven's Dutch international midfielder, Mark van Bommel, according to the player. Chelsea may consider Van Bommel as a cheaper alternative to Emerson having had a £17.5m bid for the Roma midfielder turned down on Tuesday.

PSV's Pedro Salazar said an agent claiming to represent Chelsea had contacted them. "He asked us what Van Bommel should cost, but could not show us a guarantee that he was really speaking on behalf of Chelsea." PSV are understood to want £10m.

The Real Mallorca president, Mateu Alemany, has played down reports linking the Cameroon international, Samuel Eto'o, with a £15m move to Stamford Bridge. "The only people who are in a hurry are the clubs who want to sign Eto'o," Alemany said.

"Nobody can say he is a discovery after all he has done and our philosophy is that no player should leave the club."

One deal was all but settled yesterday, Sunderland have agreed a £2.25m fee with Aston Villa for their goalkeeper, Thomas Sorensen,but there is still ground to be covered before the transfer can be completed.

The Liverpool midfielder, Dietmar Hamann, was ruled out until November yesterday after suffering a recurrence of a shin injury. The German international thought the problem had been solved by surgery in the close season, but it flared up again on his return from the club's Far East tour this week and he had another operation in Germany on Tuesday.

Tottenham's ambitions to stay at an improved White Hart Lane were hit yesterday when a plan to build a new Tube station close by was shelved. The £50m project to extend the Victoria Line to Northumberland Park would have helped to ease match day traffic congestionand regenerate the area. It would also have been a big factor in persuading the club to stay at White Hart Lane rather than look for another home.

Spurs are now dependent upon Transport for London agreeing other major transport improvements to improve the viability of their ground.

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