Date: 6th July 2006 at 1:50pm
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Newcastle chairman has this ridiculous notion that buying players when the season starts saves on wages. Not only does it frustrate his manager, who obviously wants his new players blooded into the side BEFORE the season starts, but Shepherd gives the new players contracts that last the full year – meaning he pays their wages when the are on holiday the following summer. Does it make sense? Does he EVER make sense?

Apparently the media say events at Old Trafford this week could prove crucial in Newcastle United’s search for Alan Shearer’s successor, with the Fat One seeing Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy top of the Magpies’ summer shopping list.

The root behind Van Nistelrooy’s spectacular fall from grace last season was a training ground bust up with none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has since had a small(ish) fall out with Wayne Rooney. So, will the exit of Ronaldo (which looks most likely) save the Dutchman’s United career?

Van Nistelrooy: ‘If nothing happens I will be at Manchester United next season.’

But would Sir Alex Ferguson sell Van Nistelrooy to another English club. A spokesman for United said the Dutchman was certain to go abroad IF he was sold.

Since moving to England in 2001 for £19m, Van Nistelrooy has scored 150 goals in 217 games.