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redrus

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Having seen Owen Hargreaves performance last night for England I reckon he could be a great player for us. I hope it goes through despite the resistance from Bayern..

Most of the UK press seem to think so..:

Gotta agree there. I must admit (and i always do when i'm wrong :D ) i was one of Hargreaves biggest slaggers before the world cup. I thought he was <deleted>. During the World Cup, he proved me wrong and last night he played out of his skin. :D

Hope you scum don't get him now :o:D

I was with you there, thought he was <deleted>. That one game, for me at the WC, totally changed my opinion of him. Last nights game just served to enforce that change of heart.

I'm still not sure having him and Carrick in the same team will work. Then again, he's proved me wrong once.... :D

redrus

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BECKHAM PINES FOR OLD TRAFFORD RETURN

By Editor- redissue

Thursday 17th August 2006

United comeback would rescue his career.

It’ll never happen with Fergie still in charge though.

An operative emails in:

“The Beckhams are still shocked/stunned about his exclusion from the England squad. Brand Beckham have been having crisis talks (new range of frangrances out v soon apparently), as they were going to make a massive deal when he got 100 caps, new DB100 range of things I think.

“So, the new plan is to return to England, and United, like a white knight on the white horse to 'save' United. Stranger things have happened. January could be about the right time too.”

The Guardian had this to say yesterday:

Beckham has 11 months to run on his current deal and will be free to negotiate with other clubs from January 1. He admitted in February that it was a "bit strange" not to have renewed his contract yet but Calderón spoke to Beckham's manager during the club's pre-season tour of the United States, insisting that he wants to sign a deal "as soon as possible".

Reports leaked by Real Madrid claimed in January 2005 that Beckham had been offered an extension only for him to claim they had said nothing to him. In September 2005 he would admit that there was only "talk about talks". That Beckham wanted a larger slice of his image rights slowed things down but serious negotiations simply never happened.

In February Beckham expressed surprise that there had been no real progress and claimed to want a deal done before this summer's World Cup. "When I was at United it never really went past the two-year mark but things are done differently here and things are done differently with this president," he said.

Beckham's camp remain convinced that their position is strong but, stripped of the England captaincy and no longer guaranteed a starting place by Capello, Real believe his bargaining power has diminished. They also believe he will be willing formally to sign a new deal at last - assuming, that is, they finally get round to actually offering one.

I'm just about to sign...

Jan 11, 2005

"[A contract renewal] hasn't been mentioned to me yet but it has been in the papers and of course I would like to sign an extension. I would never complain if I was to extend my contract here."

April 7, 2005

"If a club doesn't want me, then I'll think about going elsewhere but when the president comes out and says things like that [he would sooner sell the Bernabéu than Beckham] it's nice."

August 4, 2005

"A big part of my desire to stay beyond the end of my [current] contract is my family, my wife and children, because they love living in Spain."

September 26, 2005

"There was talk of me speaking to the club about the contract and we have spoken about a meeting in the next month or maybe the next two months. The club have said they want to talk about signing a new deal and I'm very happy to do that."

February 6, 2006

"I'm 99% certain that I'll be staying and signing a new contract. We may even begin talks before the summer now. We have spoken to the club and they are fine. At the moment there is a lot of football going on, and we have said we will sit down and discuss it properly."

March 30, 2006

"Madrid are very keen on getting talks under way and we are very keen on getting those talks under way as well. It would be a good thing if it gets sorted before the World Cup but even if it didn't I wouldn't go into the tournament worried about my future

Meanwhile Beckham missed training last night. From the BBC:

David Beckham was late for Real Madrid's evening training session - on the night England played their first match since he was dropped.

The 31-year-old had to train alone after arriving at Real's Valdebebas headquarters an hour-and-a-half late and may be fined by boss Fabio Capello.

His private flight from London on Wednesday was delayed because of heightened airport security in Britain.

redrus

*I'd have him back.

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From Der Bild;

"The offer from Manchester United is fantastic. To play [for United] would be a great opportunity and I would be happy if I got that chance. It's very interesting for me as an England international, and you never know whether an opportunity like this would come again.

"I have played more than 200 games for Bayern and it has been a very important part of my career, but I have to take the next step in my development and I have more of an affinity with the Premier League now than ever before."

The Guardian reports:

Owen Hargreaves' declaration that he wanted to accept an offer to sign for Manchester United was quickly followed yesterday by an announcement from Bayern Munich that they were not prepared to sell the England midfielder.

Sir Alex Ferguson, United's manager, is understood to have contacted Hargreaves after identifying him as one of several possible recruits to fill the void left by Roy Keane's departure. It is the second time in three years that Ferguson has explored the possibility of recruiting Hargreaves and the 25-year-old has made it clear he would relish a move to Old Trafford.

The player recently signed a three-year contract extension at Bayern.

"Hargreaves is not a subject of discussion," said the club's general manager, Uli Hoeness. "He has a contract until 2010 and he will complete it. That means the issue is closed."

"I am not planning to get rid of any players, and particularly not Hargreaves," added Bayern's coach Felix Magath. "It has never been an issue."

United must now discover whether the Bundesliga champions could be swayed by a firm offer. The German media have reported that a preliminary figure of £16.9m has been mentioned, and that Arsenal and Tottenham are also interested. Magath wants Hargreaves to take a more prominent role now Michael Ballack has left for Chelsea and Ferguson may have to settle for signing Marcos Senna from Villarreal instead.

Elsewhere Bayern press officer Markus Horwick is quoted:

"I have just spoken with Uli Hoeness and he is absolutely clear that selling Owen Hargreaves is not an issue. He has recently signed a three-year contract extension and will be fulfilling that deal."

"I think what Mr Hoeness says is enough to end any speculation. Owen Hargreaves will be staying with us for the remainder of the four years on his contract."

Meanwhile the Sun – not with a great record of late – claims it’s a done deal:

Owen Hargreaves will sign for Manchester United today. The England midfielder is set to be unveiled at Old Trafford after agreeing a dream £13million move.

Hargreaves, 25, got his wish after revealing United manager Alex Ferguson had made him an offer he could not refuse.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich insisted they did not want to lose Hargreaves and initially demanded £17million while United only offered £12m.

But once the player signalled his intentions to leave, the two clubs thrashed out a compromise figure.

redrus

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No 10 shirt vacant.. not sure it'll be filled before the deadline either..

'Ruud van Nistelrooy's number 10 shirt will remain vacant at Manchester United this season.

The Red Devils have confirmed their squad numbers for the new season and, while striker Giuseppe Rossi has moved up the pecking order from his previous number 42, the Italy Under-21 international has only gone as far as 19.

Rossi takes on the shirt vacated by Edwin van der Sar who, with Tim Howard now at Everton, will wear the traditional goalkeepers' number one jersey.'

squad numbers

1. Van der Sar, 2. Neville, 3. Evra, 4. Heinze, 5. Ferdinand, 6. Brown, 7. Ronaldo, 8. Rooney, 9. Saha, 11. Giggs, 13. Park, 14. Smith, 15. Vidic, 16. Carrick, 17. Miller, 18. Scholes, 19. Rossi, 20. Solskjaer, 22. O'Shea, 23. Richardson, 24. Fletcher, 25. D.Jones, 27. Silvestre, 29. Kuszczak, 33. Eagles, 38. Heaton, 49. R.Jones.

Hmm, 3 games without Rooney and Scholes.. Smith still injured. Not such a strong looking squad.

I hope Fergie proves me wrong :o

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Nice one Pups, I was chuffed a couple of years ago when Saha signed, I was like, "its nice to have a number 9 again". I didn't think we'd lose a number 10 and not have a replacement sorted especially after losing one the calibre of Van-Noodleboy.

We'll see, anyway more on Hargreaves.

Another United transfer saga is under way.

From the Guardian:

Sir Alex Ferguson is optimistic of bringing Owen Hargreaves to Manchester United after his first face-to-face talks with the player and an apparent breakthrough in the club's discussions with Bayern Munich.

A deal in the region of £17m could go through in the next few days with Hargreaves having made it clear he wants to leave Munich, and the Bundesliga champions accepting his reasons.

Ferguson invited Hargreaves to the club's training ground yesterday morning, where he is understood to have spoken at length about taking over the role vacated by Roy Keane's departure last November. Whether Bayern had any idea about this meeting is unclear but it has become apparent that Ferguson believes he is on the verge of completing his third signing of the summer.

The Bayern midfielder was pictured leaving the Lowry Hotel in Manchester with an escort from the CES security firm, a company used by United.

Hargreaves hopes the transfer can be completed over the weekend although, first, United must confirm a fee with Bayern, who can cite the fact that the Carling Cup holders paid Tottenham £18m for Michael Carrick, one of the players Hargreaves is keeping out of the England team.

The German club have tried to persuade Hargreaves to stay but are reluctant to keep an unsettled player and their priority now is getting the best deal they can.

The deal is likely to have repercussions for Marcos Senna of Villarreal, who threatened yesterday to pull out of his proposed move to Old Trafford because of the length of time it was taking to go through and may now find he is no longer wanted anyway.

Hargreaves’ agent Roman Grill is quoted:

“I don’t know whether Owen has permission to talk to United or not. Owen’s interest in playing for United next season is serious.

“He has a contract to 2010 but the chairman at Bayern insists there is no chance of Owen being sold. Owen has to talk with his club and make his plans clear. This should happen in a very good atmosphere.

“It is not a question of whether the club want to discuss a transfer. It is obvious that they need players like Owen and they don't want him to leave. But the player wants to tell the club how he sees his future.

“He will talk with the coach Felix Magath. Owen sees this as an excellent opportunity Owen will continue to push for a move there (to United), there is no need to discuss any other offers.

“Owen rates United on the same level as Bayern Munich with the advantage that, being an England player, it would be better to play at United. There, he could replace Roy Keane and play in his favourite position in front of the defence where he can show off his full abilities. The time has now come to evaluate where he is in his career.”

UWS reports:

“Bayern are being stubborn. This is because they wanted to do a deal with Van Nistelrooy and Hargreaves and feel that their noses have been put out.

“United re-ignited interest in Hargreaves after Senna started stalling. Senna wants to come, but his agent is being a tool. Senna earns £21k basic a week at Villarreal. His agent wants £60k a week for him while United have offered around £40k.”

redrus

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Every transfer appears to be a painful saga these days..unless you're Chelsea with attendant millions of course.. and even they can't wrap up the projected Cole transfer.

Now this from the Times:

[3] Times on Hargreaves

---------------------------------

Posted Saturday, August 19, 2006 by ed:

MANCHESTER United’s hopes of signing Owen Hargreaves suffered a serious setback yesterday with a robust “hands-off” warning from Bayern Munich, but Sir Alex Ferguson and his board remain confident that the England midfield player will arrive at Old Trafford next week in a £17 million deal. In a statement on their official website, Bayern claimed to have “unequivocally” informed United that Hargreaves is not for sale, adding that the England midfield player must see out the remaining four years of his contract. The German club also said that there will be “no future talks” on the matter, but, despite an apparent breakdown in direct communication between the clubs, United continued to investigate the matter yesterday through a third party.

Nor, it emerged last night from within Old Trafford, has Ferguson given up on signing a centre forward before the transfer window closes on August 31. Fernando Torres, of Atlético Madrid, remains a target, although many obstacles will have to be overcome for that deal to take place.

Hargreaves, at least, is within United’s sights and, contrary to Bayern’s statement, a meeting had been planned between officials from the clubs in Munich on Sunday. It is uncertain whether that meeting will take place, but, having been encouraged to believe on Thursday that an agreement was close on a £17 million fee, United believe that the deal has developed an almost unstoppable momentum, with Hargreaves having made clear his desire to move to Manchester.

Bayern’s statement yesterday was echoed by strong words from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman, and Uli Hönness, the general manager. “We are not even prepared to talk to any other club about releasing Hargreaves early from his contract,” Rummenigge said. Hönness said that “you can offer €50 million (about £34 million) for Owen Hargreaves but we will not let him go”.

Ferguson, whose team take on Fulham at Old Trafford in their opening Barclays Premiership match tomorrow lunchtime, had sounded cautiously optimistic about his chances of signing the 25-year-old. “We have been trying to negotiate with Bayern Munich for a while now and the boy has said he would like to join United and we’d like to have him here,” the manager said.“It is in [chief executive] David Gill’s capable hands. We are dealing with a big club in Bayern Munich, but hopefully we can get something done.”

Ferguson, having shown no more than passing interest in Hargreaves in the past, said that he had been attracted by the player’s newfound “maturity” over the past 12 months, when he has emerged as a fundamental player for England as well as Bayern. For now, though, with Michael Carrick injured and Tomasz Kuszczak merely a reserve goalkeeper, United will take on Fulham without any new faces in their starting line-up.

It is a situation that is troubling many supporters — particularly given the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid — but apparently not Ferguson. “I would have liked to have got a striker in, but there’s no one out there,” the manager said.

The one contender is Torres, the subject of a firm inquiry three weeks ago, but completing that transfer seems improbable before the transfer window closes.

Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes will serve a three-game suspension after tomorrow’s game, a situation that has angered United after the FA rejected appeals against their red cards in the LG Amsterdam Tournament. “I’m not so much disappointed as surprised,” Ferguson said. “The FA told us nothing was going to happen to Wayne. I do not know what has happened in between them telling us that and reaching the decision.”

Oh, oh.. I almost expired when I read this..

” the manager said.“It is in [chief executive] David Gill’s capable hands. We are dealing with a big club in Bayern Munich, but hopefully we can get something done.”

I'm getting worried now. Our squad clearly needs strengthening but somehow we appear unable to complete the big deals .. Carrick took an eternity and even the Kuszczak deal was protracted.

With only days left in the transfer window we may well end up with the players we've got.. :o

On another note, the squad for Fulham on Sunday....

Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Neville, O'Shea, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Ronaldo, Park Ji-Sung, Scholes, Giggs, Saha, Rooney, Rossi, Evans, Evra, Richardson, Fletcher.

Heinze still injured apparently, but I think we'll beat Fulham, especially at Old Trafford.. All I can say is.. bring on the new season! Happy days.. :D

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thanks again redrus, why do we always do it the hard way when we buy a player, carrick worth no more than 10 mil we pay 17mill seams the same for hargreaves oh well senna would be a good one.

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Exactly Nev, we seem to huff and puff over any proposed transfer these days. Off goes RVN (30 goals a season) for 10 mill.. and where are we now? Carrick..our only purchase, and yeh I think he may be a good player for us eventually but needless to say he's injured.. another blow from our ill-fated Amsterdam tournament.. I wonder how costly that fancy kick around will turn out to be..

Oh, and in my previous post I suggested Chelsea were even having trouble closing deals..well. I was wrong.. this stealth transfer slipped in under everyone's radar..

Chelsea are poised to sign versatile Dutch international defender Khalid Boulahrouz after agreeing a deal with German club Hamburg SV.

Boulahrouz had a fine World Cup for Holland..

Why can't we do things like that..

On the bright side.. I do think, with all our squad available, that our strongest team will still take some beating... Come On You Reds!!

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By Footymad

Saturday 19th August 2006

This week FootyMad's match preview focuses on the game between Manchester United and Fulham at 13:30 on Sunday 20th August 2006 in the Premiership.

History of the Manchester United v Fulham fixture

Man Utd. prepare to entertain Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, aiming to maintain a near-perfect record against their opponents. The Red Devils have won 24 of the 29 matches the two teams have contested.

The most recent encounter between these two sides at Old Trafford was less than a year ago, in February 2006, when they eased past their opponents in a high-scoring 4-2 thriller, in a Premiership match.

Recent encounters between the teams:

2005/2006 Sat 04 Feb Man Utd. 4-2 Fulham PREM

2005/2006 Sat 01 Oct Fulham 2 - 3 Man Utd. PREM

2004/2005 Sat 19 Mar Man Utd. 1 - 0 Fulham PREM

2004/2005 Mon 13 Dec Fulham 1 - 1 Man Utd. PREM

2003/2004 Sat 06 Mar Man Utd. 2 - 1 Fulham FAC

2003/2004 Sat 28 Feb Fulham 1 - 1 Man Utd. PREM

2003/2004 Sat 25 Oct Man Utd. 1 - 3 Fulham PREM

Recent respective form guides

Manchester United are in decent form at home, having won four and drawn two of their last six games, The Red Devils have scored 10 and conceded 0 during this period.

In complete contrast to Man Utd., Fulham are having a torrid time on their travels, accumulating just 1 victory and 1 draw from their last six played. While the Cottagers have hit 6 goals, 13 have hit the back of the wrong net.

Current form guides: P W D L F A P

Man Utd. 6 3 2 1 8 4 11

Fulham 6 4 0 2 8 7 12

FootyMad's prediction ...

Man Utd. may be coming up against a decent side in Fulham, but I do believe that its going to result in a narrow home win for the Red Devils. Home Win

Sequence statistics:

Man Utd. Unbeaten in the last 24 home games.

Fulham Last drawn game 7 outings ago.

redrus

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Scholes in United mag

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"I had a long time out and I'm glad to be back playing. It [pre-season] has gone okay from a personal point of view and I'm just looking forward to starting the season now. Fulham are an awkward team to play against as they play good football. We've had some tough games against them over the years, especially at Old Trafford, and there's no doubt it's going to be a tough opening game. Hopefully we can get through it with a win."

Fergie on Fulham

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"I think Fulham will have a go on Sunday because they've got a great philosophy under Chris Coleman. They have good height in their team which could be a problem for us. Their front two [McBride and Helguson] in particular are very good headers of the ball so they have a threat goal-wise. But hopefully we'll be ready."

Fergie on Heinze

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"It's not quite what it should be. Gabby's therefore going to do some work in the gym over the next three weeks to build up the quadriceps. He did very well to get himself fit enough to take part in the World Cup after being out for so long, but I think he stretched himself and the consequences are he's not fully ready for us."

Fergie on not kicking ball out

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"It is a common sense decision because the situation had gone beyond being abused, it was actually being turned into a form of cheating. I saw a situation last week when a team was defending a free-kick, the ball was headed down, it went to the attacking team and

immediately someone went down holding their head. The player in possession was 25 yards from goal and could have had a shot but the crowd started booing, so he knocked the ball out for a throw-in. We should leave it to the referee to decide whether the injury is

genuine or not. You can tell whether it is a serious head knock, or, in the case of someone like Alan Smith, whether the injury is serious. If it is, you stop the game but we had got to the situation where players were going down so their team could recover their positions."

Fergie on diving

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"We all agree the diving problem has started since foreign players came into our country but make no mistake about it, English players do it too. It has become a disease and we want to see it eradicated too."

redrus

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Fergie on getting a striker in

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"If you could show me someone who could guarantee his [Van Nistelrooy's] goals, we would be interested but there's no one out there."

"I would have liked to get someone in but there are still options for us in attack. We've got Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha and then there's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming back, and Alan Smith is looking great.

"Over the years we've had good goal-scoring contributions from our midfielders and one season we had a centre-half, Steve Bruce, who scored 19 times. As I say, I would have liked someone but there's no point worrying about it."

Seems as if we're going with the forwards we've got.. with Smith reverting to his original position.

Looking at the stats Red has posted we should get the better of Fulham in what I reckon will be a very open game..with United to come out on top.

Mind you, my first day predictions have proved to be somewhat pathetic.. :o

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Features, squads, quotes, weather etc.

Fulham manager Chris Coleman:

"He's [saha] a tremendous player with a great attitude. I won't have to tell my players how good he is. He'll relish that Ruud has moved on and can get a better run of games."

"We were in Germany when they [Rooney/Scholes] got sent off and when we heard the news our minds were racing because at the time Rio Ferdinand wasn't fit.

"I thought it was too good to be true and I was right. It's a strange situation. The season starts at the weekend and it's strange they will play the first game but miss the next three."

O'Pie:

"I think it will be an open game."

"Fulham have good attacking players, so they will be looking to utilise them.

"They will also be looking to improve their away form and I would imagine Chris Coleman spent a lot of time in pre-season trying to address that.

"Maybe they will become a bit more defensive-minded but somehow I doubt it, our matches against them are very open."

More from O'Shea:

* Nine points is the aim for the three games going into the international break."

"That would put a big statement out on our behalf.

"It is a big challenge because we are missing some players, but we cannot be looking for excuses like that.

"We will be without players through injury and suspension all season. All it does is give someone else an opportunity. That is why the manager has built such a strong squad."

Zat Knight:

"Louis is a great lad and we're great friends, but I have no intention of giving him any helping hand this season.

"I will probably text him tongue in cheek beforehand and ask him to take it easy on us, but he won't be getting any favours from me.

"You can't afford to be sentimental, there's no room for it in this game."

Giggs:

"Ideally, we would have wanted everyone available, because we start the season with three games in six days.

"We really can't afford to pick up any more injuries because we need to get off to a good start and keep it going through the season.

"This is a big season for us because while winning the League Cup last year did make it a successful season, it is the league that we all really want to win.

"It doesn't matter how many times you win the league, you never want to lose that sense of achievement.

"Chelsea and Arsenal have both raised the bar in terms of what it takes to win the title.

"What we have to do this season is go with them. We have to find that level of consistency that champions need."

BBC:

Wayne Rooney has shaken off a groin problem and will lead the Manchester United line alongside Louis Saha.

Defensive duo Nemanja Vidic and Gabriel Heinze are out with knee injuries while £18.6m summer capture Michael Carrick is still nursing his ankle injury.

Fulham midfield duo Claus Jensen and Simon Elliott are both carrying calf injuries and will miss the trip north.

Dane Jensen is nearing a return to first-team action, but New Zealander Elliott is two weeks off a comeback.

Manchester United (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Neville, O'Shea, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Ronaldo, Park Ji-Sung, Scholes, Giggs, Saha, Rooney, Rossi, Evans, Evra, Richardson, Fletcher.

Fulham (from): Niemi, Crossley, Drobny, Queudrue, Rosenior, Volz, Knight, Bocanegra, Pearce, Christanval, Zakuani, Brown, Boa Morte, Diop, Bullard, Timlin, Pembridge, Elrich, Helguson, McBride, John, Radzinski, Runstrom.

Weather:

Hard to believe at 8:30am but the BBC predict that it will be dry and with sunny spells by kick-off time. 16°C.

redrus

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Less than hour until United kick-off their 2006/07 season.. let's hope we can go one better than last year in the Prem. and also qualify for the European knock-out stage this time.. surely we're not going to blunder two seasons in a row..?

Meanwhile, this caught my eye in the Observer...

Martin Palmer

Sunday August 20, 2006

The Observer

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he has been trying to bring Owen Hargreaves to Manchester United since before the World Cup, but that the club are still some distance from a deal with Bayern Munich for the midfielder.

'We first inquired about Owen before the World Cup,' Ferguson said. The midfielder, who started the tournament as an unpopular figure among England fans, became one of his country's few successes in Germany. He earned a standing ovation in the quarter-final against Portugal and then converted his penalty in the shootout - the only one of his team to do so. The plaudits left Ferguson worried that Bayern would force up the price or that a bidding war might occur. 'What he did in the tournament was a nightmare,' the United manager said. 'I knew it would happen - it happens all the time.'

With the transfer window closing on 31 August, there is a danger that with Bayern standing firm it will be impossible to conclude a move. 'The boy wants to come,' Ferguson said, 'so we hope to be able to do something.' However, Bayern have already lost Michael Ballack to Chelsea this summer and are adamant that they cannot let their midfield be weakened any further.

We may indeed run out of time to make the deal..let's hope not... anyway

this is Skysports take on this afternoons match..

Cristiano Ronaldo makes his much-anticipated return to competitive football in England as Manchester United take on Fulham.

The 21-year-old winger courted controversy at the World Cup this summer for his exploits for Portugal against England, and in particular club team-mate Wayne Rooney.

But while United fans will hope the tricky attacker can thrive on the pressure Chris Coleman's side will be hoping Sir Alex Ferguson's men are still suffering from a tournament hangover.

Old Trafford remains a daunting venue for a season opener though, particularly for a side with such a poor record on their travels as Fulham.

While United pushed Chelsea relatively close in the title race last term, The Cottagers only recorded one victory away from home all season, coming at Manchester City.

Their solid form at Craven Cottage was enough to see them finish 12th in the top flight, but they will be targeting a vast improvement in the new campaign.

The loss of wantaway playmaker Steed Malbranque is a massive blow to the Londoners, as Coleman has vowed not to use the player, but new signing Jimmy Bullard should be on hand to make his competitive debut for The Whites along with full back Franck Queudrue.

Red Devils captain Gary Neville and centre back Rio Ferdinand both enjoyed run-outs in England's midweek friendly victory over Greece and should start.

John O'Shea and the returning Paul Scholes should form the central midfield partnership in the absence of the injured Michael Carrick.

Louis Saha will lead the line for United against his former club and Sir Alex Ferguson is relying on the French international to shine following Ruud van Nistelrooy's departure to Real Madrid.

Rooney is set to accompany Saha up front having recovered from his groin problem, while Gabriel Heinze is out with a knee injury and will be replaced by either Mikael Silvestre or Patrice Evra at left back.

With United eager to stamp their authority on the league early and Fulham hoping to improve their poor away form, everything is set up for a tasty encounter when the sides meet live on Prem Plus on Sunday.

Skysports.com Prediction: 2-2

A frustrating afternoon for the former Premiership champions.

Player to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo

Can't say I like the prediction too much?... :o .. Come on you Reds..!!

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Tonights teams..

Man Utd

01 E Van der Sar

02 G Neville

05 R Ferdinand

06 W Brown

03 P Evra

07 C Ronaldo

22 J O'Shea

18 P Scholes

11 R Giggs

08 W Rooney

09 L Saha

Fulham

29 A Niemi

07 L Rosenior

05 P Christanval

19 I Pearce

04 F Queudrue

08 M Brown

14 P Diop

21 J Bullard

11 L Boa Morte

15 C John

09 H Helguson

Ref: A Marriner

United have Solskjaer, Fletcher, Park, Silvestre and Kuszczak on the bench..

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