Date: 7th May 2006 at 11:48am
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Manchester United are reportedly ready to let Ruud van Nistelrooy leave Old Trafford, but Freddy Shepherd can forget any hope of bringing the Dutchman to Tyneside. Sir Alex Ferguson has made it known the club will not let the star join any other Premiership club, and if he DOES go … it will be abroad … and he is looking at a swap deal for highly-rated young Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres.

Torres, nicknamed ‘El Nino’, has been continually linked with United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham in the past couple of years. And his performances in La Liga have made him one of the hottest striking properties in European football.

Van Nistelrooy meanwhile appears to be on his way out of Old Trafford after a troubled second half of the current season. He was left on the bench for several crucial games, starting with United’s 4-0 defeat of Wigan in the Carling Cup final in February.

The Sunday People claims Sir Alex Ferguson sees Torres as the perfect replacement for the Dutchman. Van Nistelrooy is valued at around £12million.