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Hazard shines but Blues stumble

Chelsea Ratings
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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson gambles on Rossi to fill Ruud void

Sir Alex Ferguson's summer spending spree has begun but the Manchester United manager's search for new talent does not appear to extend as far as buying a replacement for Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Providing there are no unforeseen hitches, Michael Carrick will complete his move to Old Trafford from Tottenham on Monday.

Less than three weeks before the Red Devils open their latest assault on the Premiership title against Fulham, Carrick's arrival represents Ferguson's first signing of the close season.

The United boss has suggested the deal will not be his last. Yet, even though the loss of Van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid appears to leave a massive void in his striking department, Ferguson has expressed a willingness to allow rising star Giuseppe Rossi the first opportunity to fill it.

'We want to see Giuseppe progress as a centre-forward and it is looking more likely he will stay with us now,' said Ferguson, who has rejected claims he is about to make a move for Jermain Defoe.

The United boss has already confirmed his intention to offer more support to Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney by pushing Alan Smith into a more advanced position this term.

For all Rossi's undoubted promise, Red Devils supporters might be alarmed at the responsibility Ferguson is seemingly happy to place on the teenager's shoulders.

However, the Scot clearly feels strengthening his midfield is now a priority.

And, although Carrick's signing is almost complete, he still has a few other options available.

'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 want.

'You have to negotiate and sometimes, you have to be patient.'

Having made a £10million bid for Carrick before the World Cup, Ferguson had long ago placed the 25-year-old at the top of his hit-list.

The Wallsend-born player should make his first United appearance in next weekend's Amsterdam tournament, probably against Porto on Friday.

Although much has been made of United's dwindling attractiveness, the move, once the final transfer figure is made public, is likely to be at least the third, and possibly the second-biggest deal of the summer, trailing only the £29million Chelsea paid AC Milan for Andriy Shevchenko.

And, while the move has been touted for some time, it comes as a blow to Spurs boss Martin Jol, who was determined to keep Carrick, only to have the offer of an increased contract rejected.

'This is a move that Michael wants to make,' said Jol.

'We have given him every reason to stay, but he has asked to be allowed to leave.'