Ribery replaces Ronaldo as the main summer story as Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid all chase the French winger

As the main protagonists of last summer’s transfer sagas settled for early moves in this year’s annual ritual of transfer trials and tribulations so now the next big transfer saga has emerged. How could we forget last years seemingly endless transfer tales involving Gareth Barry and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have (thankfully) prevented a repeat performance by moving to Manchester City and Real Madrid respectively.

Yet this summer it appears that the emerging story which could be dominating the back pages across Europe for much of the summer will concern the future of the French international Franck Ribery.

Ribery, who has arguably been the shining light for Bayern Munich in an otherwise disappointing season is highly regarded around the globe, . His performances for both club and country have been exemplary, and his pacey and skilful, no-nonsense style has certainly not gone unnoticed by some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

His club Bayern Munich admitted that they had been contacted about selling Ribery, with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stating: “Real have asked in person, through their president, Florentino Perez, and his adviser, Pedro Jimenez, whether we will talk to them about a deal. We have rejected that request because we have no intention of selling Ribery. Chelsea’s bid has already been reported, and there’s also Manchester United and Barcelona.”

However Rummenigge went on to state that: “We are approaching it calmly, because we are the ones who have the power to make the decision. The amount is irrelevant, there is always going to be the perception that Bayern Munich are trying to push the price up and that there is a certain value at which we’ll have to accept, but we want to keep Ribery. We must do everything to make sure he stays in Munich and I am determined to do this. A player has to respect his contract, in this case until 2011.”

Despite Rummenigge’s comments the level of interest in Ribery is high, and the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, seeking to replace their recently departed Portugeuse winger, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have been credited with an interest in Ribery, whom many consider to be one of the world’s best attacking players.

Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson was quoted as saying: “He is fantastic, always moving and incredible energy. He is always going forward but defends a lot too, he would have no problem playing in England.”

While Bayern are keen to keep hold of their star player it is clear that this transfer saga will run and run, regardless of whether Ribery is for sale or not, and we could be hearing the name of Franck Ribery for a long time yet as the next big summer transfer saga appears set to take off.

Who will Ribery play for next season – Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich?

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