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Ferguson laughs off Rodriguez bid talk

ESPN staff
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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has laughed off talk of a bid for Porto's James Rodriguez.

United have been linked with a bid for Rodriguez, with it being claimed the forward has been earmarked as a replacement for Nani.

Colombia international Rodriguez stoked the fires when admitting his admiration for United, but a player who has been likened to Cristiano Ronaldo will in all likelihood command a sizeable transfer fee - which Ferguson intimated could be too high.

"As far as James Rodriguez is concerned, I hope it's not true because it costs a fortune to get a player from Porto!" Ferguson said when asked about links with the 21-year-old.

Ferguson was far more eager to focus on players currently at Old Trafford and he has revealed Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are two or three weeks away from a first-team return.

Smalling has been suffering from a broken metatarsal while Jones had surgery on a knee problem but Ferguson said the former Fulham defender is back in training and Jones will soon join him.

"[They are] two or three weeks away from returning which is good news," Ferguson said. "Chris Smalling trained this morning with Warren Joyce's team. He's trained with them for a couple of days. It's non-contact for him at the moment. The encouraging thing is that he's getting closer.

"I expect Phil Jones to start on the football side of things next Monday as well. They're both two or three weeks away, which is good news. They're not far away."

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