The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Beckham could be sold if price is right’

Manchester: David Beckham will be at Manchester United next season, but could be sold for a bid of £35 million ($56 million), the club’s chief executive said on Sunday.

Recent speculation has linked Beckham to Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

While chief executive Peter Kenyon said Beckham would stay in Manchester, he admitted the club would consider selling the England captain if the price was right.

United defender Rio Ferdinand’s £29.3-million ($46.88 million) transfer from West Ham last July is the British transfer record. Kenyon said he and manager Alex Ferguson would only be tempted by a bid of £35 million or more for Beckham.

“I think we have to look at those kind of offers, it would be remiss not to,” Kenyon told BBC Radio.

“The reality is that the process starts with Sir Alex and I sitting down and formulating a plan of what we really want for our team and our squad for next season.

“The key is to work out how the team evolves so that we do not undergo revolution every four or five years.”

Kenyon said United had lost star names in the past and coped well, pointing out that United won the Champions Cup, Premier League and FA Cup the season after influential midfielder Eric Cantona retired.

“The success of Manchester United is about the team; David Beckham is an essential part of our team,” Kenyon said. “But ultimately players retire, there is a life span and there will reach a time when we have to replace him.”

Kenyon said Beckham would start his tenth season at established United in August.

“We don’t see any reason why not,” he said. “We spent a good 12 months negotiating his new three-year contract and he is in the first year of that.

“David’s career here has been pretty good for everybody, he has still got things he wants to achieve and I don’t think there’s any better place to achieve those aspirations than Manchester United.

“The two clubs who are reportedly selling or buying have both denied it and the player, who is an integral part of it, has denied it so I don’t think we should fuel the speculation any more.”

Friendly called off

AFP adds from Lisbon: Portugal’s bid to avenge their shock defeat against the US in last year’s World Cup has been called off because the Americans were making outrageous demands, says Portuguese football supremo Gilberto Madail.

The teams were due to meet in a friendly on June 5 in Boston as Portugal continue their build-up to hosting next year’s Euro 2004. However, madail told sports daily Record the match had been cancelled because of ‘impossible demands’ made by the American federation over advertising and broadcasting the match in Portugal. He did not, however, rule out the match being played on a later date.

It is the third friendly the Portuguese have cancelled recently, they pulled out of trips to South Korea and Japan because of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

According to Bola, Portugal may replace the US match with a friendly against Colombia and take on Paraguay in Lisbon on June 10 as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is keen to increase the amount of matches his side plays before the Euro 2004 starts in June next year.

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