Ruud Van Nistelrooy was back at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground this morning as his dream move to Real Madrid continued to stall.
The Spanish giants made a renewed bid for the 30-year-old striker yesterday, sparking frenzied rumours that a deal had been agreed with United.
However, Red Devils’ boss Alex Ferguson, speaking after last night’s friendly win at Celtic, immediately rejected the notion United would be interested in doing a deal at the price Madrid are believed to have offered, approximately £10m (€14.6m).
Ferguson told MUTV: “They’ve slightly increased it but nothing really, you would say, for goodness sake, an increase of about two bob or something.
“We know our value. If we are going to sell Ruud van Nistelrooy we should get the proper value. He is one of the best strikers in the country, one of the best strikers in Europe, so when you think about (Andriy) Shevchenko going for £35m (€51.2m), he’s a similar age group.
“But we know our value of the player so at the moment he is a Manchester United player.”
United’s blunt refusal to do business with either Madrid or Bayern Munich for anything less than the £15m (€21.9m) asking price appears to leave Van Nistelrooy in limbo.
Ferguson has been especially complimentary about the striker’s attitude in training this week, but since the massive bust-up between the pair at the end of last season, it is hard to see how Van Nistelrooy has any future at Old Trafford.
Having already submitted a written transfer request to the United board, Van Nistelrooy is facing the uncomfortable prospect of being forced to turn out in a pre-season game over the next four days.
United head to Preston on Saturday and then Macclesfield on Monday, when Ferguson has revealed his intention to field some of his World Cup stars.
While Van Nistelrooy believes his current situation serves no purpose as regards his long-term future, he has no agreement with Ferguson over whether he will play for the club again or not.
If selected to play at either Deepdale or Moss Rose, it would appear he has little option other than to comply.