United in Ribery hunt
United are set to step up their pursuit of Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery after this weekend's Champions League final. The Germans lock horns with Inter Milan in Madrid on Saturday but are expecting interest in the 27-year-old French international to increase - once the Euro showpiece is out of the way. Bayern want Ribery to stay but the player has suggested his chances of signing a new deal at the Allianz Arena are only 50-50. He is contracted to the Germans until 2011 but if Ribery doesn't want to extend his deal then they'll cash in this summer - to avoid losing out on a fee of around £35m. Ribery will miss Saturday's final after Bayern's bid to have his semi-final red card ban reduced form three matches to one failed. Bayern believed UEFA's decision to rank the sending-off as violent conduct was wrong and took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Had it been reduced to a single match suspension then Ribery would have been clear to play against Jose Mourinho's side. But the appeal was dismissed and Ribery will now watch the match in the Bernabeu before joining the French World Cup squad. Ribery was a target for Real Madrid last summer who wanted him permanently at the Bernabeu but the Spaniards are now understood to have ditched their interest. United, though, still have Ribery as a potential summer target believing the winger can provide the Reds with some extra midfield goal punch. He impressed against United at Old Trafford in the Champions League quarter-final. Double A French double could still be on the cards with Karim Benzema remaining a likely attacking option for boss Sir Alex Ferguson. However, United are set to lose out in the chase for Valencia's prolific hitman David Villa. The Spanish international sidekick of Liverpool's Fernando Torres is due to tie up a move to Barcelona. Barca president Joan Laporta confirmed the club is negotiating with Valencia over the transfer of Villa. Laporta said: "Negotiations have begun with Valencia to make Villa a Barcelona player." The 28-year-old had long been linked with a move to Old Trafford. Meanwhile, United keeper Ben Foster is poised to leave Old Trafford for Birmingham. A £6m fee has been agreed but Foster is yet to complete a medical at St Andrew's.
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