Villarreal reach deal with United for Forlan

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The Independent Online

Manchester United agreed to sell Diego Forlan to the Spanish club Villarreal yesterday. The 25-year-old Uruguay striker has failed to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford since his £7.5m move from Independiente in January 2002.

Manchester United agreed to sell Diego Forlan to the Spanish club Villarreal yesterday. The 25-year-old Uruguay striker has failed to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford since his £7.5m move from Independiente in January 2002.

Forlan will be signing a five-year contract, the Primera Liga side said yesterday.

"He will undergo a medical on Saturday morning, then sign a five-year contract and afterwards he will be presented to the media at at the Madrigal stadium," said a spokeman from the club.

Following the summer signing of Alan Smith from Leeds, he has been deemed surplus to requirements, despite injuries to their front-line strikers Ruud van Nistelrooy and Louis Saha. He scored 10 goals in 63 Premiership appearances for United.

Sir Alex Ferguson may be tempted to change his mind and throw Cristiano Ronaldo immediately back into the fray against Norwich today following the teenager's return from the Olympic Games.

The Manchester United manager declared two weeks ago that he would need to give the 19-year-old winger two months off to recover but injuries and other selection problems mean that Ferguson may simply not be able to afford to leave out such a key player.

Ferguson said: "We don't know yet because we don't know his physical condition. He had been complaining of a groin injury before he went to the tournament and he missed some sessions with the Portuguese team. We will have to assess him.

United continue to be without eight senior players but things are looking up for Ferguson as Darren Fletcher completes his suspension today, Kleberson resumed training yesterday and the French striker Louis Saha will be back kicking a ball next week.

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