Ince pledges himself to Inter

The day after John Salako rejected a move 273 miles north, Paul Ince opted to travel 753 in the opposite direction. The Manchester United mid- field player ended a week of speculation about his future last night by agreeing to a three-year contract with Internazion-ale of Milan.

Earlier in the day the signs had been that Ince would follow Salako's example and elect to remain with his present employers. Martin Edwards, the United chairman, said: "The last time I spoke to Paul was early this week and at that time he was still undecided about joining Inter Milan. But I do know that since we spoke, he has also talked to Alex Ferguson [the United manager] and Brian Kidd [Ferguson's assistant]. Both have reassured him that they want him to stay at Old Trafford. I think Paul needed to know that he was wanted and that could very well influence his answer to Inter."

A few hours later Inter , who earlier this week sold their Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp to Arsenal, announced that Ince had joined them. The deal is thought to be worth around pounds 7m.

The 27-year-old England anch-or man agreed financial terms with the Italian club last week but asked for time to consider the move amid reports (subsequently denied) that his his wife was not happy about housing arrange-ments. "The famous problem of the house has been resolved. Paul Ince wants a very normal house and he will have a very normal house for his family," an Inter spokesman said.

The decision to sell has puzzled many United fans, but Ferguson points out that in Roy Keane and Nicky Butt he has two midfielders who share many of Ince's qualities. With money tight because of the decision to build a third tier on Old Trafford, Ferguson has been forced to sell to generate funds to bring in new faces. A move for the Leicester midfield orchestrator, Mark Draper, has been widely predicted.

More football, page 30

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