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Gibson exit on cards as Fergie plots to stay top of the pile

Alex Ferguson has revealed his determination to ram home Manchester United's supremacy over Merseyside, declaring, in the course of expressing a hunger for a 20th title, that "it was Liverpool's time in the 80s -- it's our time now".

Ferguson has, in recent years, shied away from provocative comments about United's encroachment on, and eclipse of, Liverpool's 18-title record.

He has not reiterated his legendary desire to knock them off their perch, expressed when Alan Hansen -- a totem of 1980s Liverpool -- had made public his doubts about United's prospects of winning the 2003 title, which they duly did.

But the record 19th title -- the number is now nailed to the main Old Trafford entrance -- has removed the risk of hubris and the manager, who once declared that "life will change for Liverpool and everybody else -- dramatically" once United got going, has now described how it feels to have taken Liverpool's record. "This is a particularly special one because it means we've won the title more than anyone else," he said.

Ferguson reiterated that he was "looking at possibly a couple, maybe three, signings to boost the overall quality in the team."

However, it won't be all one-way traffic at Old Trafford during the summer and Sunderland will try to take Darron Gibson and Wes Brown if manager Steve Bruce can secure £20m from United for Jordan Henderson.

There is also a strong view from Portugal that Luis Nani, United's players' player of the year, has played his last game for the club.

Nani is only 18 months into a contract, though, and United may require a £20m offer to release him.

One solution could be that he heads to Internazionale as part of a deal that would bring Wesley Sneijder in the other direction if the Dutchman's wage demand of £175,000 per week is met.

Irish Independent