The Premier League are to investigate whether Manchester United and Liverpool have broken any rules in their attempts to wrest Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane respectively from Tottenham Hotspur, who have made an official complaint about the clubs' "disgraceful" conduct. But the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has warned Spurs that such proceedings could prove "very embarrassing" as he had never mentioned any player by name.
Reacting to comments by the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, Ferguson said that his remarks about Berbatov had been misreported and that United might bring in their legal team. "It is going to be very embarrassing for them," he said. "But you know what Daniel Levy is like. He is different."
His comments came after United's feisty 1-1 draw against the South African side Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town yesterday. Gary Neville suffered mixed fortunes after starting only his second game having missed last season. The United captain came through an hour without suffering any recurrence of his ankle problems, but his careless tackle 10 minutes before half-time cost a penalty that the Ghanaian Jonathan Quartey converted to put the home side in front, to the delight of a 40,000 crowd.
Although Rio Ferdinand dropped out before the start with a back injury, United fielded a strong side. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, however, who has had a knee operation, they lacked natural width, Darren Fletcher and Chris Eagles failing to penetrate down the flanks. However Eagles, playing for the first time since December, equalised after 59 minutes, heading in a cross from Carlos Tevez before being substituted.
Wayne Rooney, in tetchy mood, received a yellow card before being taken off. "It was the type of match we need," Ferguson said.
Liverpool's captain, Steven Gerrard, had to return home with a groin strain before last night's game against Wisla Krakow. Andrei Voronin put Liverpool ahead before poor defending allowed Tomas Jirsak to equalise.
Everton suffered a 4-2 defeat by non-League Cambridge United in which Andrew Johnson and Mikel Arteta both featured after returning from injury. West Bromwich Albion went down 4-1 to Cologne, conceding four goals in the first 38 minutes, and newly-promoted Hull City drew 1-1 with KV Ostend.
A young Arsenal team without Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Adebayor or any Euro 2008 players, won at Barnet 2-1 after conceding the first goal. Jay Simpson and Nacer Barazite scored. Bobby Zamora scored his first goal for Fulham after his move from West Ham in a 3-1 win over Celtic. Rangers lost 1-0 at Schalke.
Spurs and Aston Villa have had bids for Blackburn's England winger, David Bentley, rejected.