Fabien Barthez could be handed an escape route from life on the sidelines at Old Trafford with the news that Marseilles are in the market for a new goalkeeper.
The French international is currently Manchester United's third-choice behind Tim Howard and Roy Carroll and has yet to play for the club this season. However, an injury to their reserve keeper, Cedric Carrasso, means Marseilles are looking to bring in a replacement and they have successfully appealed to Uefa to be allowed to sign someone outside the transfer window.
The Marseilles manager, Alain Perrin, said: "You don't have to think about things too much to come up with Barthez's name. But we will not stop at just a name like that. We must afterwards talk to the clubs they belong to."
Perhaps the biggest obstacle would be that Barthez would seek an assurance of first-team football, and Marseilles' Croatian keeper Vedran Runje is firmly established. "Our priority is to find a number two," Perrin said. "If Vedran gets injured or suspended we need someone who can play at the top level who has a minimum of experience.
"We will only contact those clubs who are prepared to release their goalkeepers," he added. "We could also consider a six-month loan during Carrasso's convalescence."
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