The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Midfield is strong: Alex
- Veron vows to dethrone United

Manchester: Argentinian midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron’s departure for Premiership rich kids Chelsea will not harm champions Manchester United’s defence of their title, claimed Red Devils manager Alex Ferguson.

The Scot said Wednesday that despite the sales of David Beckham, and now 28-year-old Veron for £ 15 million ($ 24 million) to Chelsea, United had more than enough cover in midfield.

Ferguson said that the offer from Chelsea was too good to turn down even though United had paid £ 28.1 million to Lazio for him two years ago.

Instead the United boss told MUTV his priority was to reinforce the defence – where he is expected to sign Tunisian fullback Hatem Trabelsi from Ajax and has been linked with a move for Barcelona’s Carlos Puyol – and a striker.

“It’s always difficult letting good players go but we are very, very well off in the midfield and the overall package made it too interesting for us not to take it,” Ferguson said.

“We’re trying to be sensible in a market that’s had its fingers burnt throughout Europe. “He was on a massive salary and it’s worth a lot of money to us. We had a collection of central midfield players who made my life difficult enough as it is, so when an offer came in for Seba we decided to take it,” Ferguson said.

He believes with proven internationals like Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt along with new signings Cameroon international Eric Djemba-Djemba and Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson he has enough class to compensate for the 52-times capped midfielder’s exit.

The Scot also paid tribute to Veron. “He was a marvellous player, always wanted the ball, had very good skills and did a great job for us. We are very happy with him,” said Ferguson.

Meanwhile, Veron has vowed to prove United were wrong to offload him by helping his new club knock United off their perch. “Ferguson trusted me when I first arrived but later on it seemed we didn’t understand each other as well,” Veron told reporters. “There were times when I felt he preferred some of my teammates. I think I’ll understand Claudio Ranieri better because of the language. I can do a job in English football — and in London that will be reaffirmed.

“I’ve nothing to prove against United but when I play against them I will play to win, like I always do.”

Veron signed a four-year deal with Chelsea on Wednesday evening. The 28-year-old tied up the move after passing a medical.

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