Fergie promises end to Veron saga
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Manchester United manager, in Lisbon for the friendly with Sporting, will hand Eric Djemba-Djemba his debut and allow Fabien Barthez the chance to prove he is still capable of holding down the number one jersey at Old Trafford.
Argentinian playmaker Veron has been the subject of a sizeable bid from Chelsea, who are keen to wrap up his signing before the first Champions League deadline this Thursday.
"So many things have happened while we've been away on tour, and things have been quite muddled," confessed Ferguson.
"We should get the real story soon."
The United boss wants Barthez to show he is ready to compete with new arrival Tim Howard, Roy Carroll and Ricardo for a first team place.
"I've got an open mind on the goalkeeping situation," he explained.
"Fabien Barthez is a character, an experienced goalkeeper, and will rise to the challenge, I'm confident of that.
"Fabien had a little blip for us at the end of the season, but Roy Carroll came in and did very well. Ricardo's an experienced goalkeeper and so is Tim Howard - he's been excellent."
United will play a weakened side against Sporting, with reserves Mark Lynch and Danny Pugh tipped to figure, while Djemba-Djemba is handed his debut following his move from Nantes.
"We watched Eric on a number of occasions and all the reports were pretty good," revealed Ferguson.
"I was certainly impressed when I saw him.
"He has certain attributes we don't have, and that will help him to blend in with the squad."