United step up Frey hunt
By Lorenzo Zacchetti & Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
MANCHESTER UNITED are getting closer towards clinching the signature of Parma keeper Sebastien Frey, planetfootball.com can reveal.
The French shot-stopper has stated recently that he is keen to see out his contract at Ennio Tardini, despite interest from Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as he has firm belief in the Serie A club's long-term project.
During the season, Parma announced a drastic cut on expenses, and revealed their desire to build a team around young players, yet the Gialloblu still managed to grab a Uefa Cup spot next term.
Frey is a key player in the plans of coach Cesare Prandelli, and Parma have already refused Roma's swap offer involving Ivan Pelizzoli.
However, it is understood that things have changed dramatically with United's bid to secure Frey's services. The exact nature of the offer has not been disclosed, but the two clubs have a very good relationship, as previously revealed on planetfootball.com.
The player himself is more likely to fly to Old Trafford, as he would love a chance of winning both the domestic title and Champions League, something he was denied at Internazionale.
Frey is also keen to replace Fabien Barthez between the posts because he is confident of succeeding the shaven-headed shot-stopper in the French national team too.
Should the clubs find a mutually satisfactory agreement, the 23-year-old is likely to join Sir Alex Ferguson's side, even if Arsenal make a counter bid.
Parma have already started looking for a replacement with Pelizzoli still on the agenda, along with Livorno's Marco Amelia and Lecce's loan star Generoso Rossi.
As for Barthez, his exit from Manchester United is looking increasingly likely.
Marseille, Paris Saint Germain and Monaco have all been less than enthusiastic after being offered the chance to sign the highly-paid United number one.
However, the World Cup winner is understood to be prepared to play for a smaller club than United.