United make Chelsea wait for decision on Veron bid

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The Independent Football

Peter Kenyon, the Manchester United chief executive, has said the club plan to respond to Chelsea's bid for the midfielder, Juan Sebastian Veron, by Wednesday.

The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has repeatedly rejected suggestions that Veron is on his way to Stamford Bridge. Kenyon, however, has now admitted United are considering an offer.

"There has now been an official offer from Chelsea for Veron and it is under review," Kenyon said. "We should be delivering a reply to the bid by Wednesday."

Chelsea will want any deal sealed before Thursday's Champions' League deadline.

Veron, 28, cost United £28.1m from Lazio two years ago. Despite criticisms over his form for United since then, Veron, who is reported to have been the subject of a £15m bid from Chelsea, has impressed on the club's pre-season tour of the United States, notably in the recent 4-1 victory over Juventus in New York when he was named man of the match.

With results going their way, Ferguson is confident his side will get off to a good start when they open their Premier League campaign against Bolton at Old Trafford in a fortnight.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the way this tour has gone," Ferguson said. "I would say it is the best pre-season we have had. It is much easier for the players because it is English speaking and they don't have the emotional drain of supporters hanging round the hotel all the time. It has allowed us to do our proper preparations for the season and we have come out of the trip knowing our form is good and our fitness is fantastic.

"In addition, it has been proved that travelling back home from the west is easier than the east, so we may not have the type of slow start we seem to have after coming back from the Far East. All things considered I couldn't be more pleased. We are looking really well."

United were scheduled to complete their tour against Barcelona at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia last night and then head to Portugal where they will take on Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. The Community Shield game against Arsenal in Cardiff on 10 August is followed four days later by their final pre-season game away to Stoke City. Ferguson will then be left with the tricky problem of selecting his side to face Bolton Wanderers, who have won on their last two visits to Old Trafford.

If a £6m deal for Ajax's Tunisian full-back, Hatem Trabelsi, can be concluded within the next fortnight to strengthen United's defence, Ferguson's two major selection posers will concern the goalkeeping position and central midfield. Tim Howard, the new American signing, did enough on home territory against Juventus at Giants Stadium on Thursday to suggest he will push strongly for a place.

Ferguson has admitted his central midfield options are numerous. If fit, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes are certain starters, while Veron should also play a part - provided he is still at the club.

That, however, is still the subject of considerable doubt. For the third time in a week, Ferguson yesterday repeated his assertion that Veron was going nowhere, adding that there was no bid on the table from Chelsea, a claim which, of course, completely contradicted his chief executive.

* Steven Gerrard and Neil Mellor were sent off as Liverpool lost 2-1 to Galatasaray in the Amsterdam Tournament yesterday. The Brazilian forwards Joao Batista and Cesar Prates scored.

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