Vol. 4 Num 36 Wed. July 02, 2003  

Ronaldinho to cost $52 million

Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon has been told he can have Paris St Germain's Brazil World Cup star Ronaldinho for 45 million euros (52 million dollars/31 million pounds).

PSG president Francis Graille, due to meet Kenyon and United directors David Gill and Maurice Watkins on Wednesday, has been boosted by major shareholder Canal Plus television's decision to raise 20 million euros for the cash-strapped club.

"If they come with an offer of 45 million euros things can go very fast," Graille told Le Parisien daily.

United were reported to have offered 15 million pounds (24 million dollars).

PSG coach Vahid Halilhodzic has changed his attitude towards the player. When he was appointed last month he refused to contemplate Ronaldinho leaving.

"Of course if we get a good offer we have to consider it," he said.

World Cup winner Ronaldinho, best known for fooling England goalkeeper David Seaman with a 40 metre free-kick in last year's World Cup quarter-finals, has a contract with the French club until 2006.

The 23-year-old Brazilian's agent Roberto Assis met Graille on Sunday and expects the move to be concluded by the end of the week.

Assis held talks with Kenyon last Friday and emerged confident of a deal being struck.

PSG, whose appeal to the French league's financial watchdog to lift restrictions on transfer dealings, need the cash to buy Bordeaux's Portuguese striker Pauleta.