Anderson looks likely to remain at Old Trafford

Manchester United are understood to have been receptive to an approach from Lyons to take Anderson on loan though his weekly wage of over £50,000 is an obstacle and the deal is unlikely to go through.

There had been some hope from the Le Ligue side that United would be prepared to subsidise some of the 21-year-old's wages to enable them to find the kind of defensive midfielder they badly need, but discussions broke down. United's willingness to release the player reflects an acceptance that he is not going to be the replacement for Paul Scholes many imagined when he was signed from Porto for a fee believed to be around £18m. Despite a particularly fine display at Anfield in December 2007, which prompted high praise from Sir Alex Ferguson, he has featured only 54 times in two-and-a-half years.

Anderson has not featured in Ferguson's squads for the past two matches, prompting speculation about his future which the manager was not willing to discuss yesterday. "Anderson will be in the squad for Arsenal," he said. On his absence from squads he said: "It doesn't matter about that."

Ferguson's uncompromising tone made it clear he would not tolerate questions on suggestions Anderson has skipped training this week.

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