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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Lyon may join battle for Heinze
Man Utd defender Gabriel Heinze
Defender Heinze is keen to leave Old Trafford for Anfield
French champions Lyon say they may join the race to sign Manchester United's Argentine left-back Gabriel Heinze.

He wants to sign for Liverpool and says he has a letter from United allowing him to leave for 6.8m but they do not want to sell to their close rivals.

Now Lyon coach Alain Perrin wants to sign the 29-year-old to replace captain Cris, who faces six months out injured.

Perrin said: "He has the profile but it is necessary to know if he really wants to play regularly at centre-back."

Heinze joined United from Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain for 6.9m in June 2004.

But the Argentine is currently involved in a dispute with United, who are refusing to allow him to move to fellow north-west club Liverpool.

Once it is settled, if he is still a Man Utd player, he will be treated accordingly

Sir Alex Ferguson

Heinze is taking the issue to a Premier League arbitration panel on 20 August.

However, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists Heinze has not been made an outcast at United because of his stance.

"He has not become an alien within the squad," said Ferguson. "He is a very popular player.

"Obviously, the meeting on 20 August will settle it one way or another.

"We think we have a good case. They probably think they have a good case too or they wouldn't have gone this far.

"But once it is settled, if he is still a Manchester United player, he will be treated accordingly. He is a warrior and a fighter. He won't let us down."

Heinze has two years still remaining on his United contract.

Despite the row over his future he has vowed to "carry on like a professional" and is continuing pre-season training with the Red Devils.


And he met manager Ferguson at United's Carrington training ground last week to discuss his future, having confirmed he has brought in lawyers to try to force through a move to Anfield.

Previously, United chief executive David Gill stated he felt the club was in the right.

"He is a contracted player for two years and unless we receive an offer that is acceptable to us as a club, he will remain with us," he said.

Gill added that prior to Liverpool revealing their interest, he verbally informed Heinze's agent that United would not be prepared to sell him to any of their three major domestic rivals.

That conversation is thought to have been recorded and, if so, could feasibly be used as evidence if the matter ended up in court.

If he did end up at Liverpool, Heinze would become the first player to go directly from Old Trafford to Anfield since Phil Chisnall in 1964.

Meanwhile, Ferguson has said that he wished he had signed Argentine Carlos Tevez 12 months ago.

"In his year at West Ham, Tevez proved himself to be an absolutely top player," commented Ferguson, who finally landed the striker this week.

"Every time I saw him playing for West Ham last year, I thought to myself, I just wish we had done it last year.

"But there were too many complications at the time."

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