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France’s Saha moves to Man United

LONDON, Jan 19 (AFP) – Manchester United were set to sign Fulham’s French striker Louis Saha for GBP 12 million pounds this week after the London club confirmed they had reached agreement with the English champions.

Fulham confirmed on their website they had agreed Saha’s transfer in principle.

And the player told l’Equipe sports daily he had to pass the United medical and settle personal terms before signing the transfer forms on Tuesday.

“But I have no worries. I’m in top form and as for the personal details I’m just as confident,” he added.

He was just as confident of dealing with the competition in United’s big squad.

“I’m leaving knowing I have to adapt as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It’s certain that like every big club there will be competition for first-team places, unlike at Fulham. But I want to play a maximum number of matches and I’ll do everything to fit in.”

He said he was not another Eric Cantona, the French star who helped transform United.

“I just want to win as much as possible. It’s going to be strange playing for such an enormous club but I’ll be the happiest player around on Tuesday.”

Saha’s 15 goals for Fulham this season have played a major part in their climb to the top six of the Premiership and Ferguson wants the 25-year-old to line up alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Saha has been unsettled since United’s interest became public and made it clear he wanted to leave for a bigger club in the hope of boosting his prospects of making France’s Euro 2004 squad.

“I understand Chris Coleman’s point of view but I knew that if I waited until June it would be too late because by then United would have signed another striker,” he said.

Coleman had tried to convince Saha to stay with the club until the end of the season but Saha admitted he had put pressure on his manager to accept the move.

Saha cost Fulham GBP 2.1 million after arriving from Metz in 2000 and the French side stand to make around GBP 1 million on Saha’s move to Old Trafford under a sell-on clause in the contract agreed by the Cottagers former manager and France great Jean Tigana.

United lost 1-0 to bottom-of-the-table Wolves on Saturday a result, which combined with Arsenal’s win over Aston Villa 24 hours later, saw the Old Trafford club knocked off the top of the Premiership table.

After losing at Molineux, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted the club needed another striker to supplement van Nistelrooy.

“The games where we have dropped points this season are games where we havent scored. Its unusual that. But were looking into that,” Ferguson said.Saha will be eligible for the Champions League when United meet Porto next month.

Fulham, who meet Newcastle United on Monday night, have already begun their search for a replacement and will attempt to beat Blackburn for 31-year-old American striker Brian McBride from Columbus Crew.

Fulham signed US international centre-back Carlos Bocanegra from Chicago Fire last week.


                                Subject: France news