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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2006

Man Utd rejected chance to sign Tevez - Gill

Manchester United 'were never interested' in Carlos Tevez and turned down the opportunity to sign Javier Mascherano, according to the club's chief executive David Gill.

The arrival of the two Argentinian internationals at West Ham on transfer deadline day sparked a major debate over just how the Londoners had managed to beat the likes of United, Arsenal and Chelsea to their signatures.

However, Gill revealed that as late as last week, United had the chance to snap up Mascherano on a short-term deal.

He said: 'We were never interested in Tevez. Mascherano, we were offered him.

'We watched him throughout last season and he played at the World Cup, clearly. We were offered him at the start of the summer transfer window for a significant sum.

'The manager and his staff did not want to pursue that. We were also offered him towards the back end of last week in a loan-type deal for a year, and again we were not interested in that.

'From Manchester United's perspective, Tevez was never on the shopping list. Mascherano we watched closely and very carefully and the experts on that area in our club determined that we did not want to go for him.'

United have refused to rule out making another bid for Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves in January.

Gill admitted their interest in the midfielder, who played a starring role in England's 5-0 defeat of Andorra at Old Trafford yesterday, would persist despite Bayern's refusal to sell this summer.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek show: 'Owen was on record as being very interested in coming to us and we were clearly very interested in Owen.

'He is a player we have had on the list for quite a while, actually.

'Obviously Bayern were very keen - and are very keen - to keep him. We will have to see.

'If that situation does not change, then obviously we will not acquire Owen.

'But Bayern have indicated to me that they will let us know if the situation changes and at that point, we hopefully can consummate a deal.

'These things do not just happen on January 1, one has discussions around the year on these particular transactions.'

Gill's comments came amid criticism from fans that the club were not active enough towards the end of the transfer window as both Chelsea and Arsenal strengthened.

However, having invested heavily in midfielder Michael Carrick and goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak following the arrivals of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in January, Gill defended the club's activity.

He said: 'We understand the frustration of fans, who feel we should have been more active.

'But we are very conscious that the quality in our squad is very high and therefore the players we bring in must add to that quality, they must be defined as reasonably valued and very critically, we believe, they must want to be a Manchester United player.

'They are the players we are interested in.'

Gill, who insisted the club had not tried to sign France striker David Trezeguet from Juventus, further promised the cash which had not been spent this summer would be available to manager Sir Alex Ferguson in January and beyond.

He said: 'Our transfer policy evolves according to what the manager wants and the budget will allow.

'It is important to know just because we have not spent the money we had anticipated in this window, that money is not lost.

'That money will be carried forward, those funds will be available for the right player at the right time.

'I do not think our policy has changed at all.'

Meanwhile, United expect to sit down with star striker Wayne Rooney and thrash out a new long-term contract within the next few months.

The 20-year-old is currently two years into a six-year deal, but both he and his employers have shown a willingness to extend that sooner rather than later.

Gill said: 'He is a key player for us and his eagerness to sign a long-term deal is great.

'I think there will be developments on that in the course of the next two or three months.

'We want to sit down and tie him to the club for longer, and really importantly for us and for our fans, he wants to do that.'