No United deal for van Buyten
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
MANCHESTER UNITED will be checking on the Champions League performances of Marseille defender Daniel van Buyten next season, but have not agreed on any deal to sign him next summer.
The Belgian stopper has only just penned a fresh contract extension at Stade Velodrome ahead of their Champions League campaign, but had been reported to have already agreed to move to Old Trafford next summer.
Van Buyten has in fact agreed on the new deal as he is happy with the way things are progressing in the south of France, and has not ruled out an extended stay with Alain Perrin's side.
The powerful defender's agent Christophe Henrotay says that the new deal just ensures that he will turn out for l'OM in Europe next term.
Van Buyten does hope to earn a move to England at some stage, and believes playing in the Champions League will help his cause.
"To play against big clubs, and big English clubs during the Champions League will prove he has the talent to play at the highest level and to play at the top clubs in England," Henrotay told planetfootball.com
"No, it's not true that he has agreed to join Manchester United next season. What is true is that it would be very pleasant for Daniel if, after a good season, Manchester come and wants to get him after a good season.
"He would be proud of that and he would probably accept a deal with them because you cannot refuse when Manchester come for you.
"Especially because his favourite choice is playing in England which we think he is built for, and Manchester is one of the top clubs if not the top club and he would be proud of that, but there is nothing that has already been agreed."
Henrotay says that the plan is to wait until the end of the season before deciding on the future, but could not rule out van Buyten remaining with Marseille - although that would depend on how they get on during the season.
He added: "Manchester United are interested and followed him - and they will be following him next season and see how he does at the top level.
"The plan is to stay for one season to play Champions League and after that we will see.
"If Marseille are still not in the top level in Europe and then Manchester come he will probably go, we have already talked with the Marseille manager about this and he has already said he will not block him.
"But on the other hand you never know, maybe he plays well and Marseille get back on the top level in Europe and they want to keep him, if he's happy there, maybe he finishes his career in Marseille, it will depend on the results of Marseille's season."
The coming season is seen as a make-or-break one for the 25-year-old, as he will be under scrutiny of Old Trafford scouts who will see how he does against Europe's elite.
Henrotay was quick to point out that, in return for van Buyten agreeing on a new deal, Marseille had said that they would not block him should he want to leave.
"Daniel has four years now left on his contract but he is able to go at the end of next season, or after two or three seasons or, maybe he will end his career in Marseille.
"If Manchester come or a big club come and Daniel wants to go we will tell the manager and he will let him go.
"Of course, we will have to find a transfer fee but it will be possible."
L'OM boss Perrin will be hoping that his side can perform well next term and maybe a good showing in the Champions League would persuade van Buyten to put off his dream move to England for another season.