Last updated : 06 January 2004 By editor
PSV chairman Harry van Raaij was incensed to learn that the 19-year-old, whose father Hans acts as his agent, had visited Manchester last Friday with his parents.

Van Raaij, while admitting regular contact with the United chief executive David Gill and promising not to report United to Uefa, is infuriated with Ferguson's role in luring Robben.

"I have had good relations with Manchester United in the past over the Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jaap Stam transfers but bad relations with Ferguson," said the PSV chairman, I recognise here exactly the same actions as when he approached them both. It is Ferguson's way of doing business but it is not my way. You can look back and see similarities to what happened with Stam and Van Nistelrooy. It just seems that, with Ferguson, a leopard never loses its spots."

Van Raaij added: "United approached us some months ago about their interest in Arjen but then I heard today that Robben was in Manchester last week and I didn't know anything about that. There was absolutely no contact from any United delegate and we are unhappy that we did not know one of our players was visiting another club without our permission"

"I have spoken to David Gill since I learned of the visit and he was a little embarrassed and said that the initiative was taken by Robben's parents. But we are not going to report United to Uefa. They had approached us in the past to say that they were interested."

"I can't blame Arjen. He's young and if there is interest shown in him by a big club like United then you can't blame him if he goes to see what the place is like. He’s an excellent player and young. In the time he has been with us he has become one of the great players in Holland. The guy has the potential to be a great player in the future but he also has great character and mentality. We can't keep these players in the Dutch league because we cannot pay the salaries of England or Spain."

"It's the same as if United wanted a player from Wolverhampton Wanderers; he will always go eventually."

Robben was impressed by his visit.

"It's very clear that United are one of the biggest clubs in the world," he told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. "I was quite sober about the visit beforehand, because I wasn't really obsessed with United. I knew it was a great club, but I wanted to see it with my very own eyes. But what a club! The stadium, the training ground, the staff - everything's so extremely professional."