Last updated : 05 January 2007 By Ed

Daily Mail:

Sir Alex Ferguson was given the green light to sign Owen Hargreaves yesterday when Franz Beckenbauer revealed that Bayern Munich were prepared to sell the England midfielder for £15million.

"If the offer that is being talked about really is true, we will have to think about it," said Bayern's club president.

"In principle, we were right to stick to our guns over Owen. If a player has signed a new contract with us, then tries to move for more money, we are within our rights to say 'no'.

"But this is different, and if we receive an offer on the scale that has been mentioned, it is going to have to be given serious consideration."

He could be followed into Old Trafford by Bale, who has attracted strong interest from United, Tottenham and Arsenal after becoming Wales' youngest-ever full international.

In a further sign of imminent transfer activity at Old Trafford, Southampton withdrew Gareth Bale from tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Torquay in anticipation of an improved bid by Manchester United for their 17-year-old wonder kid.

Though Southampton cited a hamstring strain as the official reason for Bale missing the trip to Plainmoor, it is thought United do not want him cup-tied after indicating a willingness to increase their original £5million offer.

Southampton have tried to tempt their teenage full-back into staying, with an improved £15,000-a-week package, but face a major dilemma after he rejected the chance to sign an extended deal at St Marys.

Bale is keen to stay with Southampton until the end of the season before weighing up his options in the summer, however by that time he will only have 12 months remaining on his current deal.

Promotion could convince the 17-year-old wonder-kid to put pen to paper on the offer of £15,000-a-week until 2009. But it is risk the Southampton board may be unwilling to take with United, Tottenham and Arsenal all keen to sign him sooner rather than later.


However a quote here from Southampton manager George Burley:

"There has been no change on Gareth. I've said all along we want to keep him as long as possible and nothing has changed.

"I spoke to Gareth's parents last week and they are as pleased as punch with the way things are progressing, which was nice to hear.

"He has made great progress this season but he is still only 17 and still has a long way to go.

"The bottom line is how he is progressing and how much he can improve. He's doing well and we want to keep him for a long time."

Referring to his FA Cup absence Burley said:

"It's a tight hamstring, probably through playing so much on heavy surfaces. We hope it's not serious and he will be okay for next week."

The Indie:

Manchester United received the first indication from Bayern Munich that they are prepared to sell Owen Hargreaves last night when the German club's president, Franz Beckenbauer, admitted they would have to consider a bid in the region of £17m for the England international.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been frustrated in his efforts to add the midfielder to his championship-chasing squad this season, with relations between the 1999 European Cup finalists at an all-time low due to United's refusal to accept Bayern's desire to keep a player who penned a lucrative new contract only last year.