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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 28, 2006

Fergie dismisses talk of move for Defoe

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled out making any move for Jermain Defoe to fill the void left by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The departure of Van Nistelrooy for Real Madrid has led to intense speculation about who should replace him.

Ferguson has also signalled his intention to push Alan Smith back into a striker's role following the Yorkshireman's one-year experiment in central midfield but it was still anticipated United would bring in an extra forward to provide competition for Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha.

Yet, in confirming an ongoing interest in Michael Carrick, Ferguson rejected the idea he could try to poach two Tottenham players this summer.

'There has not been any interest from us (in Defoe),' Ferguson told MUTV.

'As far as the Tottenham situation is concerned, we made a move for Michael Carrick - but that is all we did.

'He is the only Tottenham player we are interested in at the moment and I think it will stay that way.'

Instead, it appears Ferguson is ready to place his trust in rising star Giuseppe Rossi to be United's fourth striker this term.

On the Red Devils' recent South Africa tour, Ferguson admitted he wanted to let Rossi leave Old Trafford on loan for six months in an effort to further his footballing education.

The teenager immediately claimed he wanted to stay at United and try to force his way into the first-team on a regular basis.

Now, it appears he will get his wish.

'We want to see Giuseppe progress as a centre-forward and it is looking more likely he will stay with us now.'

While many United fans will be alarmed by Ferguson's decision, believing it weakens the club's chances of catching Chelsea this term, at least they will be appeased by the long-serving manager's pursuit of a key central midfielder.

Although it was widely reported a deal with Carrick had been done, neither Tottenham nor United were willing to confirm the speculation.

Instead, Ferguson thinks the Old Trafford faithful may have to be patient in their wait for new arrivals.

'We have targeted several players but in my experience, these things take time,' he said.

'We are not going to be stupid and just pay the price other clubs wants.

'You have to negotiate and sometimes, you have to be patient and wait for the moment when eventually, the two clubs agree.'

Apart from Defoe, one man who will definitely not be arriving at Old Trafford is AC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso.

Ferguson was ready to make a move for the former Rangers star if Milan had suffered a similar penalty to Juventus in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

However, by being allowed to remain in Serie A and, unless UEFA decide otherwise, maintaining a place in this season's Champions League qualifiers, Milan's bargaining position leaves Ferguson acknowledging any bid for Gattuso would be useless.

'We were waiting to see what was going to happen with AC Milan,' said the Scot.

'But they are still in the European Cup and Serie A, so there is very little chance of progressing that one.'

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