Saha injury revives Owen talk

Saha has been beset by injuries since joining from Fulham in January 2004, making just 21 starts. A United statement said he had undergone arthroscopic surgery for damage to the medial meniscus in his right knee. No return date was given.

Although United have attacking options in Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney and Alan Smith, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not yet fully fit after a long absence with knee problems and Sir Alex Ferguson may desire extra cover to cope with the domestic and European workload.

Reports yesterday suggested that Ferguson has been told by United's new owners, the Glazer family, that there is no money available for players, and that he must start selling.

The offloading of Phil Neville to Everton and the circulation of Kleberson's name was cited as evidence. However ,although a Glazer source conceded that "a degree of churn" was on the agenda to prevent new contracts being handed out before a trimming of current liabilities, the notion of an empty kitty was refuted.

"David Gill [United's chief executive] said earlier this week that if the manager identifies talent that he believes will improve the squad, then there is money available," the source said. "That remains the situation."

Owen has already confirmed that his representatives have made initial soundings to "three or four Premiership clubs" after becoming concerned about his place in the pecking order at Real Madrid, who have signed two new Brazilian strikers.