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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Ferguson hits back at Veron
Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson insists Veron was always in the picture
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at Juan Sebastian Veron's claims that the manager was "two-faced" over the midfielder's 15m move to Chelsea.

Veron claims that Ferguson initially rejected two bids from Chelsea - saying the midfielder was still wanted at Old Trafford - but then changed his mind when Chelsea increased their offer.

But Ferguson has branded the former United midfielder's comments "a disgrace".

"Seba knew all along what was happening, so to say I was two-faced about it is a disgrace," Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News.

"I spoke to him a few days after we started pre-season training and explained that we had accepted a bid from Chelsea because I knew we would have an embarrassment of numbers in midfield.

"At that stage he shook my hand and everything was fine.

Juan Sebastian Veron
Ferguson wasn't sincere with me
Juan Sebastian Veron
"Then Chelsea said they couldn't pay the 15m we had originally agreed and wouldn't follow through with the offer.

"His agent was still talking to Chelsea down in London and the day before we were due to leave for America, Seba came and took all his stuff away from the training ground.

"We had to telephone him and tell him he was still a Manchester United player."

Ferguson has replaced Veron with 6m Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson and Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba, while 18-year-old Portuguese starlet Cristian Ronaldo has also confirmed his move to Old Trafford.

But, despite Ferguson's claims to the contrary, Veron felt betrayed by the United manager.

He said: "Ferguson wasn't sincere with me. Two months ago a couple of clubs expressed an interest and he said I wasn't for sale.

"He gave me the impression I was wanted. But when there was money on the table his conversation changed. That's a hard one for me.

"The story (that he was going to sign for Chelsea) was running and running and nobody in Manchester was denying it, so I asked Ferguson 'Do you want me in the squad?'.

"Then he came out with the line about Chelsea's offer being very good, financially interesting, tempting.

"I realised it was all about money. I said I'm not interested in money, but if that's what this is about.....

"I guess that was the turning point for me."

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