EIGHT IN FOR McMANAMAN
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real president Florentino Perez is desperate to off-load the England international, due to his excessive salary and likely inability to break into the first team next season.
McManaman was left out of the 18-man squad named by Vicente del Bosque for the friendly with Middlesbrough at the weekend, and it is Boro who head the race for his signature.
Bryan Robson has the cash at his disposal and has offered around £9.5 million for the ex-Liverpool star, but `Macca` is reluctant to leave the European champions for the Teessiders, as they have no genuine prospect of challenging for top honours next season and, of course, they are not in Europe.
Parma, Lazio and Fiorentina could all offer the 28-year-old an escape route into Italy, something that would appeal to him, but Manchester United remains a controversial option that is reportedly being weighed up by the player.
United`s interest has been documented extensively in the English media on Tuesday, some days after planetfootball.com broke the story last week.
Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa are also willing to join the bidding, but McManaman will at least be pleased with the massive show of faith in his ability, after the cruel snub delivered by his present club.
The midfielder has been extremely diplomatic about his plight, and has vowed to compete for his place, safe in the knowledge that he is on an extremely lucrative contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which is unlikely to be matched elsewhere.
However, there may come a time when he has to put his career before any personal considerations with an England place under Kevin Keegan unlikely if he cannot make the first team in Madrid.
`Macca` obviously feels harshly treated, particularly as he was a key part of the side which won the European Cup, but Real may eventually get their way and force him out of the club.