Robben move unlikely after United reduce original offer for PSV striker

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The Independent Football

The PSV Eindhoven president, Harry van Raaij, has hit out at Manchester United for halving their offer for the young striker Arjen Robben.

Van Raaij claimed he had agreed a £10m deal "in principle" with the former United chief executive, Peter Kenyon, for 20-year-old Robben to join United in the summer.

But when the formal offer came in earlier this month it was for half the figure that had been previously discussed. The development has almost certainly scuppered any chance of the deal going through and has left Robben, who turned up with his family at United's Carrington training ground last month, distraught.

"Of course Arjen will be disappointed," Van Raaij said. "He had already visited Manchester United and I had agreed a deal in principle with Peter Kenyon for him to join them in the summer. What I don't understand is the reason why their approach changed so much.

"Given the difference between the two offers I do not see any way Arjen will join them in time for next season."

Van Raaij revealed he was not given a reason behind the collapse of the deal but suggested Kenyon's departure for Chelsea and the on-going row between the club and its major shareholders, John Magnier and JP McManus, could have been factors. He said: "I read in the newspapers that there are some problems at the club."

Rio Ferdinand will have to sit out another five matches at least as he awaits a hearing date for the appeal into his eight-month suspension for missing a drugs test. The Manchester United defender has already missed three games after deciding to begin his ban on 20 January as scheduled.

Ferdinand's legal team submitted a 125-page document contesting the penalty in the middle of last month and the Football Association took the maximum 21 days before replying late Monday evening.

Possible new hearing dates are now being discussed but the first week in March seems the most likely choice. In that time, Ferdinand would miss three Premiership games, Saturday's FA Cup tie with Manchester City, plus the first leg of the Champions' League tie with Porto on 25 February.