United compete with Chelsea for £15m Drogba

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Manchester United and Chelsea are competing to sign Marseille's Didier Drogba, with both clubs willing to spend up to £15m on the highly-rated striker.

Manchester United and Chelsea are competing to sign Marseille's Didier Drogba, with both clubs willing to spend up to £15m on the highly-rated striker.

Drogba's goals have taken Marseille to the Uefa Cup final, knocking out Liverpool and Newcastle United on the way, and have caught the eye of the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Chelsea scouts. Agents working for both clubs have been in touch with Marseille this week and have been told the 26-year-old is not for sale. However that could change if either United or Chelsea made the right offer.

United's interest in Drogba will place a question mark over the future at Old Trafford of Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is interesting Real Madrid. If the Spaniards were to offer £30m for Van Nistelrooy, Ferguson would move for Drogba as a replacement, partnering him in attack with another recent signing, Louis Saha.

For Chelsea, the chief executive Peter Kenyon will conduct any transfer negotiations, with Drogba's name having been added to his list of potential summer signings, which also includes Ronaldinho and David Beckham.

Marseille, who will face Valencia in the Uefa Cup final next Wednesday, are now under the control of the general manager Pape Diouf. Ironically, he was Drogba's agent before he took up the senior post at the French club.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are signing Paul Robinson for a reduced fee as Leeds United desperately try to raise cash following their relegation from the Premiership. The 24-year-old goalkeeper has been destined for White Hart Lane for a while but the deal was delayed because of problems before the transfer deadline in January.

However, Leeds confirmed last night that negotiations have begun to finalise the sale of Robinson. The fee is being kept secret but sources close to the move reveal it is just £1.5m with additional money dependent on appearances. Payment will be up front, but the fee is still a large reduction from what Leeds hoped to realise for the England international.

The Crystal Palace manager, Iain Dowie, has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Leeds post by claiming he will honour his contract with the south London club. "I have got an 18-month contract and I will work that 18-month contract," he said yesterday.

Back at White Hart Lane, Tottenham have released the former England midfielder Darren Anderton, the German defender Christian Ziege and the Uruguayan Gus Poyet. However, the club captain Jamie Redknapp, another former England player, will be given a new one-year contract.

Comments