Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Veron Holds Key to Cole's Future at Upton Park

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Veron Holds Key to Cole's Future at Upton Park

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL THOMSON

JOE COLE has emerged as a potential transfer target for both Manchester United and Chelsea.

And the interest in the West Ham midfielder could explain the on-off saga of Juan Veron's move to Stamford Bridge from Old Trafford.

Claudio Ranieri has made it his priority to find a "link" player between the attack and midfield to replace Gianfranco Zola.

Chelsea made a [pounds sterling]5million enquiry for the 21-year-old England international before the takeover of Roman Abramovich.

But since then it was thought they had set their sights on more highprofile signings such as Veron.

However, with that move's status changing daily, Chelsea appear to have turned their sights back to Cole.

Sir Alex Ferguson is a huge admirer of the West Ham player and missed out on capturing him when he went to Upton Park as a youngster.

If Veron finally leaves Old Trafford, Ferguson will need to replace him and it is understood the United boss is again looking at Cole.

West Ham have already cashed in by selling Frddie Kanoute, Glen Johnson and Trevor Sinclair for a total of [pounds sterling]12.5m.

It was thought the club needed to raise [pounds sterling]10m to cover losses after being relegated from the Premiership but the board would consider further sales and could raise as much as [pounds sterling]10m again from the sale of Cole and Jermain Defoe, who is also interesting United.

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs insists there is still room for improvement following his side's successful preseason tour of the United States.

With Ferguson being linked with a fresh move for West Ham striker Jermain Defoe, the current forward line flew out of America last night having scored an impressive 14 goals in just four matches.

Predictably Ruud van Nistelrooy was at the head of the scoring charts.

But he was joined on four by Diego Forlan, who scored twice in the 3-1 win against Barcelona - while Giggs netted against Celtic and Juventus.

It sent United on their way to Portugal for tomorrow's encounter with Sporting Lisbon in excellent heart.

But Giggs believes United should have done even better. …

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