Lizarazu rejects United to stay in Germany

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The Independent Football

The Bayern Munich defender Bixente Lizarazu has turned down the chance to join Manchester United after committing his future to the Bundesliga side.

The French left-back was the last piece in Sir Alex Ferguson's jigsaw for next season. However, despite confirming that he spoke to United regarding a move, he has decided to see out his deal in Germany.

"I met their representatives last weekend but I will be staying with Bayern," he said. "I have taken this decision for various reasons. I was very flattered by the United offer. It's always pleasing to see that your work is recognised by others. But in my own interest it's better to stay in Munich."

Newcastle United are in danger of losing out on the French international Laurent Robert as Spanish side Valencia join the race for the Paris St-Germain player. The Newcastle manager Bobby Robson was undecided over the move last night after chairman Freddy Shepherd agreed a £10.5m fee with the French club.

The French striker believed he was flying in to sign after pulling out of PSG's Intertoto Cup tie on Wednesday, but instead Newcastle stalled on completing the transfer.

The Everton manager Walter Smith and the club owner Bill Kenwright have disagreed over the sale of Michael Ball. Smith was keen to accept Middlesbrough's new £5.5m offer for the defender, but Kenwright, who believes that Ball is worth £7.5m, has rejected the deal.

Chelsea have named Marcel Desailly as their club captain. The Real Madrid full-back Geremi has played down reports linking him with Chelsea, while the Stamford Bridge left-back Warren Cummings is joining West Bromwich Albion on loan.

The Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren is seeking an answer from Manchester United target Jonathan Greening.