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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Heinze still stuck at Old Trafford

Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze has lost his attempt to force the club to allow him to move to rivals Liverpool.

Heinze said the Red Devils gave him written permission to pursue a transfer to another club for a fee of £6.8m but ManYoo disputed this.

A Premier League arbitration panel concluded that the permission "was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer".

The defender is set to appeal against the panel's decision. United will have 14 days to respond and, with the transfer window scheduled to shut on 31 August, Heinze is short of time if he wants to leave Old Trafford.

But his solicitor Richard Green says the Argentine could still join Liverpool after that date using Rule M4, which allows the Premier League discretion to grant a transfer outside the window.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill travelled to Monday's hearing in London to put their case and will be happy with the verdict.

I don't really understand Manchester United's approach to this - they've obviously got a player who doesn't want to be there anymore - and indeed Ferguson shows no inclination to want to include Heinze in his match day squads.

I know that transfers between the Liverpoll and United are rare (the last first-team player to move from United to Liverpool was Phil Chisnall in 1964) but the club approach here seems wrong - given that the requested fee has been meet.

It seems like a bloody minded approach, and one that does smack of restraint of trade - or attempting to keep the best players away from your rivals. If you are not gonig to use a player then he should be able to leave - as long as reasonable financial demands have been met.