United set to drop South American flops
April 15, 2004
LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has apparently decided to listen to offers for South American flops Diego Forlan and Kleberson as he begins rebuilding his squad.
Forlan has had two-and-a-half unconvincing seasons at United, while Kleberson has failed to settle following his 5 million pound move to Old Trafford last summer.
Brazil World Cup winner Kleberson has played 14 games this season and come nowhere near to satisfying Ferguson's pre-season expectations.
Forlan was hauled off after just 55 minutes of United's 1-0 win over Leicester on Tuesday and stormed straight down the tunnel.
It could well prove to be the 24-year-old's last appearance at the Theatre of Dreams, newspapers reported Thursday.
Spanish clubs Real Betis and Seville have made preliminary inquiries about Forlan, who would be allowed to leave for as little as 2.5 million pounds.
Fergie had not seen the Uruguayan play when he signed him from Independiente in January 2002 for 7.5 million pounds, relying on the advice of his brother Martin, who does the bulk of United's foreign scouting.
It took Forlan 19 games to score his first United goal and although he gained cult status with both strikes in last season's 2-1 win at arch-rivals Liverpool, he has scored just 17 times for the Reds.
With the depressed state of the transfer market, United are aware they are unlikely to receive more than half of the fee they paid for Forlan.
But getting the player's 35,000-pounds-a-week wages off the books will be an added financial bonus.
Ferguson hailed Kleberson as the man who won the World Cup for Brazil. But his family have failed to settle and that, coupled with injuries, made first season a disaster.
United skipper Roy Keane is in line to return for Saturday's trip to Portsmouth, with Ferguson hailing the midfielder's decision to return to international action with Ireland.
Keane ended his self-imposed exile by announcing his intention to play for his country again, a decision Fergie believes will keep him at the top level for another two years.
"I was happy with Roy's decision. It might be the thing that will drive him on for the next two years. There are only five competitive matches each year, and those are the ones Roy will be involved in," Ferguson said.
Keane could make his comeback in Ireland's friendly in Poland on April 28, but is more likely to feature in the opening World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Switzerland in September.