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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

United concern over Bayern management change

Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded his chances of landing Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves at the end of the season may have been diminished by a change of management at the Bundesliga club.

The Manchester United boss failed to persuade Bayern to let the England midfielder go in the January transfer window and will closely monitor developments following the appointment of Ottmar Hitzfeld to replace coach Felix Magath.

Ferguson said: 'Everybody has got his own ambition to improve their club and, particularly when a new manager comes in, I am sure they will give him support.

'Because it is Ottmar Hitzfeld and he has had a great experience with Bayern in the past, they are always likely to listen to him and that is an obvious worry for us. But we don't know until we get talking to him, if that does happen.'

Whatever the rumblings over Hargreaves' future in Germany, Ferguson is still set to pursue his interest in the 26-year-old, who he believes represents a crucial component in his bid to strengthen United's squad.

Ferguson added: 'You have got to remember that Paul Scholes is 32 - although I think Paul can play on for quite a time. I think we were doing the right thing if we had got him [Hargreaves] by protecting our future.'

Meanwhile, Ferguson insisted he was unconcerned by his failure to land any big names during the January window, nor surprised that few of his side's Premiership rivals chose to strengthen either.

But he expressed surprise over Liverpool's attempt to land Xavier Mascherano despite FIFA rules which prohibit a player turning out for three different clubs in the same season.

Ferguson said: '[Liverpool] got Mascherano and I don't know how they managed that. They got him on a sort of loan basis and I don't know how it's happened.

'The only thing I can think is that because Brazil's season is different from ours, it is because of that, which is strange.'