Sunday 18 March 2018

Ferguson signals Ozil interest as Scholes 'phenomenon' endures

Jason Burt

ALEX FERGUSON yesterday suggested that he might be interested in signing Germany international Mesut Ozil, who is regarded by many as a possible successor to Paul Scholes.

Scholes took the man-of-the-match honours in yesterday's Community Shield, and was hailed as a "phenomenon" by Ferguson as he approaches his 36th birthday.

The United manager confirmed he had watched Ozil play in Werder Bremen's pre-season friendly against Fulham on Saturday. But when asked directly if he was scouting Ozil -- who has one-year left on his contract at Bremen -- Ferguson said: "A lot of clubs are interested in Ozil. I have a great squad. I don't need to add to it. But a lot of clubs would be interested in him."

When asked if United were among those clubs, Ferguson said: "I don't know.'' In the world of football-speak this can be interpreted as something approaching a yes. After all, Ferguson also said he "apologised" for having said that Michael Carrick would be out for two weeks only for the midfielder to start yesterday. Not that Scholes -- who again ruled out any chance of an international comeback -- appears ready to be replaced just yet, even if Ferguson suggested that it had occurred to him during the last campaign that it may be his last.

"This time last season he's saying to himself it's his last season," Ferguson said. "A lot of people thought that and it crossed my mind also. He keeps coming back. It's a phenomenon that he goes out there and is man of the match approaching his 36th birthday. He's an incredible footballer."

Ferguson also paid tribute to new signing Javier Hernandez, who scored. "Strikers are strikers and like to score and he's certainly different from what we have got," he said. "It gives us an advantage in a lot of games."

For Carlo Ancelotti, defeat capped a disappointing pre-season in terms of results for Chelsea. "We lost four games but we did our best," the manager said, blaming the poor sequence on the World Cup. "It was difficult to have players come back at different times. We knew it would be, but now we are disappointed to lose the game and you have to look forward. Next game we start the Premier League and we will be at the top of the Premier League.

"It can happen above all when you play against a very strong team such as Manchester United. They played better than us and deserved to win. We knew they could play a good game and they did."

Ancelotti said he expected his squad to be fully fit in two weeks' time and confirmed that Petr Cech and Alex would return to training tomorrow and be available for Saturday's game against West Bromwich Albion with Jose Bosingwa "two to three weeks" away from fitness. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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