Last updated : 24 July 2007 By editor

The Times reports on a growing feud…

In the improbable surroundings of the South China Sea, hostilities between Liverpool and Manchester United are threatening to spill over as their respective pre-season visits to Asia are overshadowed by accusations of an illegal approach in the Merseyside club's bid to sign Gabriel Heinze.

'While the Argentina full back's lawyers explore the possibility of legal action against United, citing a document that they feel entitles him to join any club offering €10 million [about £6.8 million] for his services, Sir Alex Ferguson hinted last night that an illegal approach may have been made. While he believes that the chief culprits are Heinze's agents, United's displeasure with Liverpool is clear.

'"Gabriel Heinze will not be joining Liverpool as far as I'm concerned," Ferguson said. "We are examining some of the statements coming from his agent and when contact was first made with Liverpool. We are not happy with the agent's conduct in the matter and we are examining that, but it will take a couple of days before we have anything more to say."

'Heinze, who is on holiday after playing for Argentina in the Copa America, has yet to make his intentions clear, but his agent, Roberto Rodriguez, and his brother, Sebastian, who acts as his adviser, have infuriated United with their conduct. Rodriguez, who is based in Madrid, could not be contacted last night to answer Ferguson's claims.'