United reject Real Madrid's bid for Van Nistelrooy
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United have turned down a bid from Real Madrid for Ruud van Nistelrooy - and had one rejected themselves for Michael Carrick.
Intense rumours out of Spain tonight suggested Van Nistelrooy was due in the capital for a medical tomorrow before completing a big-money move to the Bernabeu.
It appears the Real website even published a profile of the 30-year-old earlier in the day, only to swiftly take it off.
However, Ferguson has flatly denied the speculation, confirming Real have yet to meet a valuation the Red Devils find acceptable.
'There is no agreement with Real Madrid and Manchester United over Ruud,' said Ferguson. 'We have refused their offer. He remains a Manchester United player.'
It seems only a matter of time before a deal goes through, although Real will clearly have to get much nearer United's £15million valuation for the player than the £10million it is believed they have bid.
With Van Nistelrooy's short-term future still undecided and interest in Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres stalling, Ferguson may yet stick with his current strikeforce.
His midfield is another matter though, as public confirmation of his interest in Carrick emphasises.
'We are trying to sign another central midfielder,' said Ferguson. 'We have made a bid for Michael Carrick but they (Tottenham) turned it down.'
Ferguson did not elaborate on the Carrick issue but he did hint at a possible bid for Patrick Vieira should he receive confirmation the former Arsenal man wishes to leave scandal-hit Juventus, who are now bound for the depths of Serie B.
'We have to see what Juventus are planning for their players,' said Ferguson. 'Vieira, (Fabio) Cannavaro and (Gianluca) Buffon are all top players and there are question marks about where they are going next season.'
Talk of transfers overshadowed a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town, with Dong Fangzhou sparing United's blushes with the winner six minutes from time.
Having been denied a tap-in by Paul Scholes moments earlier, Dong kept his nerve to rifle home after Darren Fletcher had set him up with a neat cut-back.
The finish gave some indication as to why United invested £3million in the 20-year-old two seasons ago, even though there was no immediate hope of the Chinese international being granted a work permit.
Dong has spent all his time at United on loan at Royal Antwerp so far, but Ferguson can already see plenty of improvement in the former Dalian Shide youngster.
'Dong has the speed, physicality and his technique is improving all the time,' said Ferguson.
'He has improved a lot but we expect that and he has to continue it if he wants to be a player.
'Dong showed a lot of composure for his goal. He could easily have hit it first time but when his opportunity came, he remained patient.'