Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, still desperately unhappy that one of his own players has dared court a move to Liverpool, is now insisting that the said player can still play for United.
The player in question is Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze, who has made it clear he wants out of United and wants to pull on the Red shirt of Liverpool FC instead. Ferguson is unhappy that a player who even got to wear the captain’s armband last season can be so treacherous. However Heinze was told, via a letter to his agent, that United wanted to sell him for €10m in the summer, so already knew he wasn’t exactly part of Ferguson’s future plans. The only issue Ferguson has is that he cannot stand Liverpool Football Club, a mutual feeling of course, and would rather give Heinze away than let him join up with Rafa’s new squad.
A date has now been set for a Premier League panel to sit and judge whether the infamous letter should be considered acceptable proof that Heinze could leave for that fee. United claim it isn’t, saying the player’s contract overrides any letter. There have even been bizarre claims that United’s chief executive David Gill recorded a conversation with Heinze’s agents saying something along the lines of, ‘by the way – that letter… it doesn’t include that lot from down the East Lancs.’
Almost as bizarre is Ferguson claiming Heinze would still have a future at Old Trafford. That his supporters would accept his decision to start making use again of a player who declared publicly that he wants to become a genuine Red, rather than one of the devilled variety. Ferguson announced the meeting with the PL panel, and claimed that they would almost certainly win the case, and that once that was resolved that his player “definitely has a future” there. He said: “Nothing has moved as far as Gaby is concerned. We have a meeting on August 20 which will settle the issue once and for all. We think our case is strong and we are depending on that. And, if it goes our way, Gaby definitely has a future here. He still has another two years left on his contract.”
Rafa has a different view it seems, and has been quoted as saying: “The situation with Heinze is very clear and I am confident in the outcome. I am not looking for any other left-back.”
Whatever the outcome of the hearing, United will be delighted that they have ensured Heinze doesn’t play for Liverpool against Chelsea on August 19th, the day before the panel sits to adjudicate. Their delight will almost certainly be tempered by the fact that the following day they will either have to allow the move to Anfield to go through, or if they win the case they will have to choose between letting Heinze spend six months in the reserves until the next transfer window, or let him go to another club instead. Ferguson will not use Heinze in a competitive match again, and any watching clubs know they would be able to get Heinze for less than that £6.8m bid by Liverpool last month.