Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robson Reveals Saha Regrets

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robson Reveals Saha Regrets

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Sir Bobby Robson has delivered a glowing endorsement of Fulham's Manchester United-bound striker Louis Saha as he rued Newcastle's failure to spot his huge potential.

Former Newcastle loan signing Saha has been the centre of attention during the January transfer window, after the Red Devils launched an pounds 8m bid to sign him almost a fortnight ago.

The 25-year-old's decision to publicly criticise Fulham's initial refusal to sell him and his threat to leave the club for nothing at the end of his contract in 18 months' time should they continue to deny him his `dream' move to Old Trafford, has split football opinion.

That will matter little to Saha now, however, as he is on the verge of getting his own way after both Fulham and Manchester United announced last night that a deal had been agreed in principle which will see him move to Old Trafford.

The switch is expected to be completed in the next few days and tonight he could make a farewell appearance for the Cottagers against his former club at St James's Park.

While some have voiced their disdain over Saha's display of disloyalty to the Londoners in recent days, Robson has instead voiced his own regret over the Magpies' decision not to take up an option to buy the former Metz star five years ago.

Saha spent five months at Newcastle under Ruud Gullit in 1999, but the Dutchman did not fully appreciate the potential of the then 20-year-old and the Paris-born player returned to the Continent before becoming a pounds 2.1m signing for Fulham a year later.

"We had him and let him go," said Robson, whose side desperately need to win against the Londoners this evening to cut the seven-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Charlton.

"I like the look of him a lot, he is a very good player indeed, an outstanding player in fact.

"I've seen a lot of him, but he really came to my attention last year and he scored a wonderful goal against us down there this season.

"He's quick, left-footed and very good in the air. He can play as a twin striker or he can play up there alone. I'm not surprised at all that Sir Alex Ferguson wants him, a lot of clubs would. …

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