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Darth Maul
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Manchester United's tough-tackling midfielder Nicky Butt has rubbished talk of him leaving Old Trafford.
Last week Sporting Lisbon put themselves in the frame to sign him. Sunderland have also been among his admirers.

The midfielder has even been linked with a move to Goodison Park for a swap deal for Nick Barmby.

However Butt claims reports linking him with a move away from Old Trafford are nothing more than speculation, and has moved to reinforce his manager’s insistence that he will be an Old Trafford squad member for the forseeable future.

"As far as I know it's speculation," he said. "I had a bit of speculation last year as well. But the manager has come out and said things in the papers. He never spoke to me about it so I assume it's a load of rubbish."

United began their preparations for the defence of their league title on Wednesday when all the players, except for Dwight Yorke and those on Euro 2000 duty, reported back for pre-season training at Carrington.

Butt's thoughts are already focused on who United's main challengers will be and he thinks it will be a predictable quartet.

"I think it'll be the same as last season, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea," he said on MUTV. Each year there's always a surprise team and Leeds did exceptionally well last year and they are going to be huge contenders this year as well.

"But it's got to the stage where you could pick any team from eight who could be up their vying for top place. But I think it'll come down to Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leeds. I would say, though, that we are more than capable of winning it again,” he added.
 
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