Manchester United could sign not one, but two, Brazilian internationals this week in deals worth a prospective £23m. United's Chief executive Peter Kenyon said yesterday that the Premiership champions are "very confident" of securing their prime target, Ronaldinho, before the start of a lucrative tour of the United States this Saturday. In a surprise move, they are also set to ambush Leeds United's attempts to sign the midfielder Kleberson.
Kenyon predicted it would be "an interesting news week" for United, who will also complete the £1.2m signing of the American goalkeeper Tim Howard. More arrestingly, they will push on with the sale of Juan Sebastian Veron to Chelsea for £13.5m. Added to the departure of David Beckham and the arrival of David Bellion and the Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba it will represent an active summer for Sir Alex Ferguson and one in which he has, so far, made a surplus on transfers. Other deals are expected.
Kenyon said that negotiations with Paris St-Germain over Ronaldinho were progressing at last. "I was delighted to see that he came out as a player and said he wanted to join us, which is a good sign," Kenyon admitted. "As much as we would like to keep these things quiet, other people have different agendas. We are in negotiation with PSG and despite all the coverage, they are moving forward." The package is said to be worth £19.3m to the French club.
Kleberson, despite also being a World Cup winner, will cost substantially less. United, who first talked to his agent Marcel Figer last week, have contacted his club, Atletico Paranaense. Negotiators are in England talking to Leeds, but United feel that a straight cash offer of around £4m will prevail.
The activity at United is in sharp contrast to events so far at Arsenal where the latest scare yesterday surrounded the future of captain Patrick Vieira. Once again he warned that he will walk away next summer on a free transfer if his contract demands are not satisfied. Chelsea have, of course, been linked with a £50m move for him.
Vieira said: "I want to stay at Arsenal but everything must be resolved before the start of the Championship. Either I prolong [my contract] or I go to the end of my contract." His demands have caused alarm at Highbury where his loyalty to the club is not thought to be as strong as Thierry Henry's. Vieira recently reacted angrily when the Arsenal website reported that he had signed a new three-year contract and he has questioned the ambition of the club.
Yesterday the French international was more measured, saying: "You can see that the transfer market is totally flat. I know the club are working on certain dossiers. It will work itself out." His manager Arsène Wenger, however, admitted frustration over his quest to sign a new goalkeeper following the departure of David Seaman. "I would prefer to have a keeper by now," he said. "I am in a situation where I have to buy." Wenger also attempted to play down concerns over finances. "At the moment when I open a newspaper it seems like we are a sinking ship," he added, "but I don't share that view."
Another manager attempting to hold on to his assets was Graeme Souness. Blackburn Rovers have rejected two bids from Chelsea, the second of £15m, for Damien Duff, but the player has a clause on his contract allowing talks to take place if £17m is offered. "I have no intention of selling him and we want to keep him here," Souness said as he unveiled his own new signings of Brett Emerton and Lorenzo Amoruso. "But when Damien signed his new contract last summer he did so in the knowledge that someone could come in and offer a lot of money."
The Everton manager David Moyes confirmed an interest in Steve McManaman, who yesterday suffered the indignity of not being offered a squad number by Real Madrid for the forthcoming season.
Tottenham Hotspur intend to raise £15m from shareholders to cover a projected loss of £5m for the last financial year and provide transfer funds. The share issue is also likely to see chairman Daniel Levy tighten his grip on the club.Reuse content