Football: Ferguson finally gets his man

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson tonight admitted he was "delighted" after finally signing Laurent Blanc at the fourth attempt.

The veteran French World Cup star, 36, has signed a one-year deal at Old Trafford after joining on a free transfer from Inter Milan.

"This is maybe the fourth time we have tried to get him," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.

"I have tried in the past to do it, even last season - but it has always been the wrong time. Now we are delighted he has joined us.

"The first time it was Auxerre... then Barcelona and Inter Milan!"

Blanc has been lined up by Ferguson as a replacement for Jaap Stam, who joined Lazio for £15.25million on Monday.

It was essential the Premiership champions completed his signing before tomorrow if the centre-half was to be available to play for them in the Champions League this season.

Blanc is a close friend and international team-mate of United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, and he revealed that his fellow France player had played "an important role" in his arrival at Old Trafford.

"I have recently had a long history of contact with Manchester United, which ended up today with me signing for the club."

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