Nistelrooy out - Carrick in?
With Ruud van Nistelrooy expected to complete his move to Real Madrid, Manchester United appear set to sign England midfielder Michael Carrick from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee reported to be between £15 and £18 million.
Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been looking to fill the midfield void left following the departure of former captain Roy Keane, has been a long-time admirer of Carrick, who cost Spurs £2.75 million when they signed him from West Ham United two years ago.
Although he will not be a direct replacement for Keane, Carrick's passing skills will provide the eight-times Premiership champions with an outlet they have lacked since the Irishman left Old Trafford at the end of last year.
Carrick's loss will come as a major blow to Martin Jol, who guided Tottenham to fifth in the Premiership last season and helped the 25-year-old force his way into Sven-Goran Eriksson's England World Cup squad.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, hope to seal van Nistelrooy's switch from Manchester United to the Bernabeu, subject to the 30-year-old Dutch hitman coming through a medical.
It is believed that the nine-times European champions will pay around £11 million to secure the services of van Nistelrooy, who lost his place in the starting line-up alongside Wayne Rooney to Louis Saha in the last three months of last season.
The Dutchman, only the eighth player to score 150 goals for Manchester United, is expected to put pen to paper to a three-year deal at the Bernabeu where he will link back up with former United team-mate David Beckham.