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By ESPN Staff

Man Utd closing in on deal for Bayern's Hargreaves

Manchester United tonight appeared to be closing in on a deal to sign Owen Hargreaves after Bayern Munich admitted the England midfielder was leaving them.

Hargreaves looks set to complete a £17million move to the Premiership champions, with the German media reporting he will sign a four-year contract.

Bayern have had a disappointing season, not only failing to defend their Bundesliga title but also missing out on qualification for next season's Champions League, and the club's intentions to make sweeping squad changes during the summer had already been expressed.

But senior director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made it clear that 26-year-old Hargreaves had been one of the players the Bavarian giants had hoped to keep on board.

Rummenigge told the club's website: 'A player like Owen Hargreaves would have looked good in our team next year.

'In the defensive midfield position Owen is one of the best in the world - it's a big sporting loss for us.'

Hargreaves, born in Calgary, Canada, has been tracked by United ever since impressing for England at last year's World Cup finals.

Bayern have kept a tight hold on their asset until today when club president Franz Beckenbauer confirmed the player was leaving.

'Owen Hargreaves will go,' Beckenbauer told the DFB-Doppelpass programme on German TV. 'It's also the wish of the player.

'Everything is right and it is also financially right.'

Asked if reports about the £17million fee were true, he said: 'It will be around that size.'

The midfielder represented hometown club Calgary Foothills FC from 1994 to 1997 and had been contracted to Bayern until 2010.

His breakthrough year was 2001 when he starred in the Bayern team that won the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup and the Bundesliga.