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Thursday, 18 November, 1999, 17:02 GMT
Keane talks to resume
Keane: Wants to delay decision until end of season

Manchester United are to make a last attempt to persuade Roy Keane to sign a new contract before the New Year.

United chief executive Martin Edwards told the club's annual general meeting today that the future of the club's captain was a top priority.

Keane is out of contract in the summer and could then leave on a free transfer.

After 1 January, the Republic of Ireland international will be free to talk to other clubs.

Edwards confirmed that manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have new talks with Keane in the next few weeks.

"Sir Alex is going to have another chat with Roy. We would obviously like to put it to bed, but Roy has said that he doesn't want to do it until the end of the season," said Edwards.

"We would need some feedback from him on that. But if there is any possibility of doing something before the January 1 deadline then obviously we would be delighted to so.

"Those talks with Roy will be held before Christmas."

Wage demand

Keane is reputed to want around 40,000-a-week to sign a new contract, and shareholders expressed concern at the possibility that the club could lose its driving inspiration.

But PLC chairman Sir Roland Smith made it clear that Keane's future was uppermost in the board's mind.

"We are going to do whatever needs to be done to keep him," he said.

"But until he has made up his mind about what he wants, we can't do anything."

Aside from the Keane question, a number of other frequently-discussed issues surrounding United were aired at the meeting.

Edwards denied suggestions of a rift between him and Ferguson, while the club's FA Cup withdrawal and the unsuccessful BSkyB takeover bid were also discussed.

Scholes to delay hernia op

Meanwhile Paul Scholes is set to further delay his planned hernia operation, with Manchester United's next break from European action the favoured option.

Scholes (on ground): Hernia surgery but not until December at earliest
The midfielder, who scored the crucial goals in England's 2-1 aggregate Euro 2000 play-off win against Scotland, has needed the surgery for some weeks.

He is likely to go under the knife after United's Champions League game against Valencia on 8 December.

Scholes would then have just over three weeks to recover if he was required to play in Brazil at Fifa's new world championship for club sides.

Nicky Butt has recently undergone similar surgery, and is returning to full fitness after playing 90 minutes for the reserves against Blackburn on Tuesday.

Teddy Sheringham and Quinton Fortune also appeared in the same match, after recovering from calf and ankle trouble respectively.

Meanwhile Ronnie Wallwork has recovered from an appendicitis operation, and United have no new worries following the two-week international break.

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See also:
28 Oct 99 |  Football
Keane back for play-offs

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