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Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Football's duff deals
Van Nistelrooy is is merely the latest player to experience problems
Ruud Van Nistelrooy's delayed transfer to Manchester United is not the first time the club have encountered problems with big-money signings.

Two years ago they abandoned the purchase of Marc-Vivien Foe for 5.5m from Lens because the Cameroon international had not fully recovered from a broken leg.

Marc-Vivien Foe has not reached his potential
"Foe must start playing again before anything else happens," warned Old Trafford chairman Martin Edwards at the time.

Instead, West Ham were left to pick up the pieces, salvaging Foe's hopes of a Premiership future by bringing him to Upton Park in a 4.2m move.

Since arriving in east London, Foe has proved his long-term fitness, though he has not turned out to be the world-beater many predicted he would become.

Hole in the heart

One of the more famous cases of injury halting a player's dream move occurred in the 1970's.

Scottish international Asa Hartford was on the verge of signing for Leeds, until a medical showed he had a hole in his heart.

The move, unsurprisingly, collapsed. But he continued to play top-level football and represented his country on numerous occasions.

More recently, another Scottish international, Colin Hendry, saw his transfer from Rangers to Derby County suffer a similar fate.

John Hartson's proposed move to Spurs collapsed
The two clubs had settled on a fee, believed to be 1.5m, but Derby were reluctant to conclude the deal because of an injury to the defender's knee.

Hendry finally signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Coventry, the only Premiership side willing to offer the 33-year-old a permanent contract.

In March of this year, Tottenham also experienced a transfer upset when John Hartson's proposed 7m move fell through.

Terms had been agreed for the Wimbledon forward, but the Welsh international failed a medical when tests suggested there was a problem with his knee, relating to an operation had had undergone in December.

In a statement, Spurs said: "John Hartson has had a thorough medical and as a result we have reluctantly decided not to proceed."

Spurs urge caution

It was not the first time Tottenham had pulled out of a deal.

Leeds were left to pick up the pieces when the White Hart Lane club delayed the signing of Reading's highly-rated teenage goalkeeper Shaun Allaway because he had a hand injury.

Man Utd took a chance on Andy Cole
And Aston Villa were the surprise beneficiaries of another stalled transfer, this time involving Israeli Najwan Ghrayib.

Clubs have not always taken such a reticent approach, however.

Manchester United were not as cautious when they signed Andy Cole from Newcastle in 1995.

Cole was then struggling with a long-term shin splints problem.

But on that occasion Ferguson was prepared to take a risk - to the tune of 6m - and it quickly paid off when the frontman began to bang in the goals.

United's legion of fans will be hoping the same is true for van Nistelrooy.

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See also:

06 Mar 00 | Football
Spurs pull out of Hartson deal
25 Feb 00 | Football
Hendry arrives at Highfield Road
19 Nov 99 | FA Carling Premiership
Derby double swoop fails
26 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
PSV confident over Man Utd deal
26 Apr 00 | Medical notes
Knee injuries
25 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Man Utd record transfer postponed
25 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Old Trafford chief in striker hint
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.