MANCHESTER UNITED manager Alex Ferguson has revealed that Owen Hargreaves will miss the start of the season after suffering another setback following a series of knee problems.
The midfielder made only one substitute appearance in the last campaign after an 18-month absence through injury.
It was hoped he could join United on their summer tour – they leave for their training camp in Chicago on Monday – but instead he is having further treatment with Ferguson admitting he does not know when he will be back.
The Scot said: “The bad news is that Owen Hargreaves is back in America seeing a specialist.
“He will not be ready for the start of the season. I do not know when he will be back.”
Ferguson also fears Rio Ferdinand will not be ready for the first game of the season against Newcastle.
The England defender suffered a knee injury in training ahead of the World Cup match with the United States and was unable to play in South Africa.
Ferguson said: “Rio will probably not make the start of the season. It will be close. It depends on his progress over the next few weeks.”
On the plus side, Ferguson is pleased with Michael Owen’s progress following a hamstring injury.
However the striker will skip the tour as he builds up his fitness.
Ferguson said: “Michael is doing great. He is working in the gym every day. I do not think he will be fit to go to America but he should be ready for the start of the season.”
Antonio Valencia and Nani are expected to available for the Newcastle match, according to the Old Trafford boss, after suffering an ankle injury and broken collarbone respectively.
Meanwhile Anderson is on course to return in September following a knee injury.
Ferguson added: “Cruciates are cruciates. He is doing fine and working hard.”
Meanwhile Serbia forward Milan Jovanovic has finally completed his long-awaited move to Liverpool after signing a three-year contract.
The 29-year-old was a free agent after his deal with Belgian club Standard Liege expired at the end of the season and the move was lined by up former manager Rafael Benitez before his departure at the start of June.
Despite numerous suggestions Benitez may try to launch a last-minute bid to hijack the deal Liverpool and the player were always confident he would move to Merseyside and that has now been confirmed.
The 29-year-old, who scored Serbia’s winner in their surprise World Cup victory over beaten semi-finalists Germany, met up with some of his new team-mates at Melwood yesterday.
Jovanovic can play up front or on the wing and could provide much-needed support for striker Fernando Torres or fill a gap left by Yossi Benayoun’s transfer to Chelsea.
“It is an honour for me to sign for one of the biggest clubs in football,” said the 2008 Belgian footballer of the year.
“I cannot wait to start working with the manager and I’m looking forward to joining up with my new team-mates on our Swiss training camp.”
Elsewhere German champions Bayern Munich claim they have received no concrete offers for midfielder Thomas Mueller.
The 20-year-old has caught the eye of a number of clubs this summer having impressed for Germany in the World Cup.
His performances drove Joachim Low’s side to the semi-finals but they fell to Spain 1-0, with Mueller forced to look on from the bench because of suspension.
Bayern director of sport Christian Nerlinger claims the club are ready to increase the young star’s pay, and insists he will be going nowhere.
He said: “We are going to give Thomas Mueller a raise, Bayern Munich is known as a club that will always come up with a reaction when there have been impressive performances. I am still very fine on that, we have not extended the contract of Thomas Mueller for no reason.
“Thus far we have not received any concrete bid for the player, we do not intend to sell him.’’
Muller is contracted to Bayern until June 2013, and scored 13 goals in his debut Bundesliga season for the club last term.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved