Race for Van Nistelrooy begins in earnest

July 15, 2006

The battle to sign Ruud van Nistelrooy is on after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed at least three top clubs are interested in signing the want-away Manchester United striker.

Van Nistelrooy has informed the Red Devils he wants to leave, a move widely anticipated following the 30-year-old's major fall-out with Ferguson at the end of last season.

Even though the Dutchman finished last term as a distinct second choice to Louis Saha as a partner for Wayne Rooney, and also ended the World Cup on the bench after falling out of favour with Marco van Basten, Van Nistelrooy remains in demand.

With Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and at least one other club signalling their desire to land the striker, United are confident they can raise at least £15million, which could go towards an offer for Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres.

'Ruud has asked to leave and we have to consider that,' said Ferguson. 'Real Madrid have shown interest and Bayern Munich have shown interest and I think another club have shown interest today but David Gill is going to fill me in on that one.

'Obviously I think something may happen.'

United officials have made it clear they will not let Van Nistelrooy leave on the cheap and it will take a bid well in excess of the £10million Real are rumoured to be prepared to pay for the forward, one of only eight players in the club's history to score 150 times.

However, his impending departure is set to finally trigger United into some meaningful transfer activity, with West Brom keeper Tomasz Kuszczak set to arrive at Old Trafford in the near future, a move that will see Ben Foster - the Red Devils' senior keeper on the current tour of South Africa - rejoin Watford on loan for the coming campaign.

Although West Brom dispute that Kuszczak is going anywhere, Ferguson said: 'We have an agreement with Watford for Ben to go back there for another full season.

'We are in the process of tying up a deal with Tomasz Kuszczak from West Brom. He has Premiership experience and he will be the number two to Edwin van der Sar next season.'

At least one midfield reinforcement is expected - probably Michael Carrick - although Ferguson is adamant Paul Scholes remains an integral part of the United squad after making a full recovery from his worrying eye complaint.

'Paul Scholes is back - it is as simple as that,' said Ferguson.

'It doesn't matter who I am thinking about bringing into my midfield, Paul Scholes will be included, as he would in any side in the world.'