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Fergie to be world’s best paid manager

London: Alex Ferguson is set to become the world’s highest-paid manager after agreeing to extend his contract at Manchester United for another four years on £3.5 million ($5.8 million) a year.

The Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday the 61-year-old Scot, in charge at United since 1986, had accepted an offer from the United board that would keep him at Old Trafford until the end of the 2007 season. Ferguson signed a three-year deal in 2002 after changing his mind about retiring when United appeared set to make England coach Sven Goran Eriksson their manager.

Fergie, who has two years of his current deal to run, told the Daily Mirror: “We’ve had meetings and the club has made certain proposals for an extra two or three years. I received all the details from my solicitor this morning and we’re sorting everything out… It’s not easy to get excited at my age, but the important thing is it’s what I want to do.”

“I feel strong and healthy and there’s no point in retiring. I’ve talked before about the mistake I made a couple of years back when I said I was going to step down. Firstly you have to consider your health. Those are questions I’m very comfortable with. At some point I’m going to have to hand over to whoever replaces me. And when that happens, I know the club will be in fantastic shape.”

Ferguson has won eight League titles and the 1999 European Cup at United although he appeared to be on the way out when he went through his first four years without a trophy. Frenchman Eric Cantona arrived from Leeds United in 1992 to inspire United to their first championship for 25 years.

“Having made the decision to stay on, I started to re-plan how the club was going to progress over the next few years,” said Fergie. “I’ve started regenerating the squad by bringing in younger players, and the youth system is better than it’s ever been.

But Ferguson cannot see himself emulating Newcastle’s Sir Bobby Robson, and staying in charge at United until he is 70. “I can’t see me doing that,” said Fergie.

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