United want unhappy De Boer

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The Independent Football

The Barcelona midfielder Ronald de Boer has been contacted by the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, in an attempt to bring him to Old Trafford.

The Barcelona midfielder Ronald de Boer has been contacted by the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, in an attempt to bring him to Old Trafford.

"I received a call from United last week from Alex Ferguson," said the unsettled De Boer, who made three appearances as substitute during the Netherlands' Euro 2000 finals campaign. "I don't know yet whether the transfer will go through."

Ferguson's interest in the former Ajax player comes with De Boer becoming increasingly frustrated with life at Barcelona after Louis van Gaal's departure last year from the Nou Camp.

The new Barca manager, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, has made a poor impression on De Boer since ignoring the player for a friendly against PSV Eindhoven, despite forcing him to warm up for 20 minutes.

"I felt used," he said. "So I asked the coach for clarification. He doesn't appear to be interested in keeping me."

The Leeds chairman, Peter Ridsdale, is still hoping to secure the release of Mark Viduka from the Australian Olympic squad. Viduka is one of three over-age players named in the 18-man party for the Games, which begin in his home town of Sydney next month.

The £6m summer signing from Celtic, who is due to return to Australia after next Tuesday's Premiership home match against Manchester City, is understood to be unhappy at missing out on the first three matches of Leeds' Champions League campaign.

The Leeds manager, David O'Leary, would love to have the striker in his squad for those games, which include a trip to Barcelona and an Elland Road match against Milan.

The club still hope they can change the mind of Australia's coach, Raul Blanco, although Ridsdale said: "Fifa have written to Australia and all the other competing nations saying they would prefer it if they didn't pick the over-age players.

"But at the end of the day it's up to the countries concerned as to whether they do so and Australia are insisting that Mark goes. Unless they change their current stance then we will lose Mark."

Everton's manager, Walter Smith, is ready to join the bidding for the Danish international Soren Colding. Smith has already made an inquiry about the Brondby defender and may step up his interest after losing the veteran Richard Gough through injury.

Bradford City's young impressive young defender Andy O'Brien could be out for two months with a fractured collar bone. O'Brien came off worse in a challenge with Leicester's Ade Akinbiyi on Saturday.

Derby's captain, Darryl Powell, could be out of action for the next five weeks after he has suffered a recurrence of a groin injury. Powell should have been playing for Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier this week but instead he will be flying to Germany to see a specialist.

Steve Archibald is hoping his Airdrie foreign legion can become stars of the small screen this season. The former Barcelona striker has struck a ground-breaking deal with the Spanish company Canal Plus for the channel to cover the progress of his team.

Archibald signed six Spaniards in the summer - Sanchez Broto, Alfonso and Aguilar, Jesus Sanjuan and Antonio Calderon and David Fernandez.