Alex Ferguson is ready to pave the way for Dimitar Berbatov's departure from Manchester United by clinching a £15m deal for Aston Villa's Ashley Young this week.
Berbatov's Old Trafford future appears bleak after his omission from the 18-man squad against Barcelona -- Ferguson had already resolved to listen to offers for the Bulgarian before he picked Michael Owen as a substitute.
Having failed to tempt England forward Young from Villa in January, Ferguson expects to sign the 25-year-old this week after seeing off Liverpool's attempts.
With Young out of contract next summer and not extending his deal, United are confident of signing him for a relatively inexpensive fee due to Villa's reluctance to allow the player to leave on a free transfer in 12 months.
Young's arrival would further relegate Berbatov down the pecking order and although the £30.75m club record signing has claimed he has no desire to leave, the humiliation of being overlooked at Wembley may force him to rethink his future.
Berbatov did not sit with his colleagues during the game and was absent when the squad took to the pitch after the final whistle. Ferguson denied, however, that Berbatov had left the stadium following his omission.
Bayern Munich retain an interest in Berbatov, while a return to Tottenham is a possibility should United step up their interest in Luka Modric.
Ferguson is expected to make attempts to persuade Paul Scholes to sign on for a further year when he meets the 36-year-old this week, although the midfielder is understood to have decided to retire this summer.
A decision has yet to be made on Owen's future, but Ferguson may offer him a one-year contract. (© Daily Telegraph, London)