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01/05/2012 09:39

Papers: Battle for Hazard

Ian Herbert writes in The Independent...

City and United do battle over Hazard
The fight for supremacy between Manchester's two Premier League sides continues beyond last night's title clash at the Etihad Stadium, with the clubs now vying to sign the Lille attacking midfielder Eden Hazard – one of the most promising talents in Europe. Manchester City, who are digesting suggestions from Carlos Tevez that he may be willing to stay at the Etihad next season, are hoping that their executive Patrick Vieira can be key to persuading the £30m-rated 21-year-old to select them above United. But Vieira found himself in the company of United's scout Martin Ferguson, the manager's brother, as he watched Hazard flourish on Sunday evening in the 2-1 win over their rivals Paris St-Germain. The Belgian playmaker declared after the game: "I want to play in England. My objective is to go to the Premier League, because I have had my time in France." Sir Alex Ferguson acknowleged last week that Hazard was one of the player he had scouted in a visit to see Lille play Lyons recently. "Hazard is a very good player. He has many qualities. He is particularly rapid in the first [10] yards," said the manager, who has told Dimitar Berbatov's agent that he is ready to jettison the Bulgarian because he wants more pace in his side. Ferguson's brother's presence bears out United's interest, even though the view from France is that City are the club most likely among the clutch of possible suitors – also including Tottenham Hotspur and perhaps Real Madrid – to meet an asking price which could be as high as £40m. The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, won't pay that price, while Liverpool, who have also been interested, are bound only for the Europa League.

The newspapers obviously pick the bones out of United's devastating derby defeat to City with Ian Wright commenting in The Sun that Rio Ferdinand should have marked Vincent Kompany at the crucial corner. Roberto Mancini told the press that United's negative tactics cost the champions at the Etihad Stadium while there is plenty of talk around of a power shift in Manchester and beyond.

More:  Neville: Reds will fight on | Fans: United still in the race

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