Hughes rejects Ferguson move to stick with Wales

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The Independent Football

Manchester United closed in on Ronaldinho yesterday, but their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was forced to abandon his plan to lure Mark Hughes back to Old Trafford.

Ronaldinho's brother and agent, Roberto Assis, said the Brazilian was happy with a proposed deal to take him to United and now only needed the agreement of Paris St-Germain. Assis added that he expected the move to be finalised tomorrow.

But Ferguson will have to look elsewhere as he seeks to replace Carlos Queiroz, his assistant who took over as Vicente del Bosque's successor at Real Madrid last week. Hughes, the Wales manager, said he was "flattered" at being linked with a return to United but would not walk away from the national team job. "I've started a job here and I want to see it through," he stated.

One hat was thrown into the ring yesterday - that of Eric Cantona. In a rare but perhaps well-timed interview Cantona, who retired six years ago, said: "I have ideas on the game and I would like to go to a club where I can bring my vision. My thoughts are revolutionary and if I feel the club is right I would go there. To do it I would need big players. And the biggest players are located in a club in Manchester."

Another United target, Harry Kewell, said he would not be rushed into a decision regarding his future. Arsenal are the only club to date who have made an official approach, although it is believed they are struggling to match Leeds' asking price of £7m, while United have made a tentative enquiry.

Arsenal are unlikely to be able to sign another of their targets, Jaap Stam. Lazio's Dutch defender said if he does move from the financially troubled Rome club, he would only go to one of three sides: Milan, Juventus or Internazionale.