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EXCLUSIVE: Fergie delight at Ronaldo as United chase Ribery and Benzema

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12 Jun 2009 15:18:59

EXCLUSIVE: Fergie delight at Ronaldo as United chase Ribery and Benzema

Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a £100million transfer fund by Manchester United after he personally gave the order for Cristiano Ronaldo to be sold to Real Madrid. And United last night prepared to enter a bidding war with Chelsea for France international Franck Ribery which could go as high as £65m. Old Trafford boss Ferguson is also known to have Lyon's £25m forward Karim Benzema on his hit list and he hopes to conclude the £16m signing of Wigan's Antonio Valencia in the near future. LA Galactico: Ronaldo could not be happier on holiday in California yesterday after learning that his dream move to Real Madrid is going ahead The path was cleared for Ronaldo to realise his dream to join Real when the Spanish club came good on a world record, £80m deal struck with United before Christmas. The transfer should be tied up in the next few days. Revealed by Sportsmail in early April, the deal will see United collecting a flat one-off fee, with Ronaldo earning £200,000 a week over the course of what is expected to be a six-year contract. READ HOW IAN LADYMAN EXCLUSIVELY REVEALED THE STORY IN APRILIt became clear yesterday that far from being reluctant to allowRonaldo to leave, Ferguson actively encouraged the deal once he wasmade aware of the massive fee. It is also understood thatFerguson has been given a personal assurance by the club's owners, theGlazer family, that the entire proceeds of the deal will be madeavailable along with his annual £20m transfer budget. Whetherthe United boss opts to spend it all is another matter United mustfind £65m a year just to service club debt, according to financialexperts but he is certainly not short of options as he looks to replace a player who has underpinned the club's return to the top of the European game over the last few years. Transfer kitty: Fergie has £100m to splash on bringing talent to Old Trafford Wigan's Ecuador winger Valencia has long been a Ferguson target and he will almost certainly join shortly while the United manager has not yet given up on persuading Carlos Tevez to stay on a long-term deal rather than join neighbours Manchester City. Indications from the Tevez camp last night were that the Argentine away on international duty was still undecided, even if United meet the £25m his rights owners want. Set to fill the gap? Tevez and Valencia As well as Benzema, Ferguson's hit-list includes Barcelona holding player Yaya Toure, another City target. He has just turned down a contract extension at the Nou Camp. It is, however, the prospect of United going head to head with Chelsea for Bayern Munich's Ribery that looks the most mouthwatering, and the suggestion from Stamford Bridge last night was that the London club certainly expect their rivals to be involved. Targets: Benzema and Ribery Bayern have already indicated the 26-year-old is not for sale and it is thought that it will take an offer of around £65m for the Frenchman to be prised away. Another complication is that his wife is not thought to be keen on England and would rather her husband join Ronaldo in Madrid. But what is certain is that United have the financial muscle to add to Ferguson's squad as he looks to minimise the loss of a player who has had such a phenomenal impact at Old Trafford since he joined the club as an 18-year-old from Sporting Lisbon in August 2003. Having persuaded Ronaldo to stay at United when Real came calling last summer, the club realised during the early stages of the season just finished that it was right to cash in if the Spaniards came through with the money stipulated in a deal eventually struck in the winter.   [item name=module id=1017048 style=5 /]And when Ferguson currently on holiday on the Cote D'Azur was informed that £80m was still on the table this week, he instructed the United board to accept the bid. United confirmed a deal had been agreed with a short statement early yesterday morning, and it was subsequently underlined privately that Ferguson would have the money at his disposal. 'It was the manager's decision and it was supported by the board,' a spokesman for the Glazers said. 'The deal hasn't even been done yet, so we don't know how much will be available, and it would be inappropriate to comment on the use of the funds.' Ronaldo's personal terms were agreed in principle some time ago. It is thought he will be unveiled in Spain along with Real's other big signing, Kaka, on June 29 or   [item name=poll id=1011444 style=1 /] Former Real president Ramon Calderon yesterday confirmed Sportsmail's exclusive that Ronaldo's transfer was agreed last summer. He told 5 Live: 'Last season United decided not to do it because they thought it was too early and everyone agreed to do it this season.' Real's Portugal defender Pepe last night welcomed his compatriot's arrival. He said: 'He's worth the money, and more. With Kaka, he'll make us the best in the world.' [related]


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