Rumour round up

Last updated : 19 January 2004 By Martyn Elliott

Despite United having dismissed reports that they have opened negotiations with England midfielder Nicky Butt the Sunday People claims to have uncovered the truth behind the story.

Apparently a club insider told them that they were shocked by Butt’s £45,000-a-week wage demands, adding: “We won’t be going near him at that price. He’ll have to rethink his demands.”

If that is true you have to wonder how much club officials thought that an England regular in his prime, with more medals than our squad put together actually got paid. It’s hardly a secret that Manchester United players are on fairly healthy salaries.

Meanwhile, The Portsmouth News claims that Pompey boss Harry Redknapp is keen to sign Carl Cort on loan - Redknapp being the manager who complained at the weekend that he is desperately short of players because of injuries.

However, Cort’s agent Jonathan Barnett, possibly seeing a payday go out of the window, thinks that United will only let the striker leave on a permanent transfer.

"I have not heard anything about Portsmouth," Barnett told Sky Sports. "I don't think a loan move would be on as far as I know.

"Carl would just like the chance to play as he is not playing at Newcastle. I don't think Newcastle would want a loan deal, but they could be willing to sell if the price was right."

Cort meanwhile is keen to kick-start his career, telling The Journal: "People might think that I'm just happy to sit in the reserves and pick up my wages, but I've got self-respect. I'm not doing the job I'm paid to do and that's play football.

"I'm 25 and at the stage of my career where I need to be playing first-team football. The manager told me at the start of the season that he didn't want me to go anywhere because I was part of his first-team plans, but that hasn't been the case."

When exactly has Cort been available for first-team action?

Elsewhere the Mackems are apparently keen to sign both Steve Caldwell and Bradley Orr on Bosman transfers in the summer, although Manchester City are also reported to be monitoring Orr’s situation.