Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson hasbeen accused of making an illegal approach to sign Rennes defender Julian Escude.

A spokesman for the French side, Jerome Poupard said: “The first move was directly to the player, not the club. So we found out from the media in France.

‘They didn’t contact the club and they didn’t make an offer. After a few weeks they contacted the club and that was alittle bit strange.”

Ferguson needs to sign Escude before the Champions League deadline on August 31. Officials from both clubs are due to meet again on August 25 to discuss the next move.

This is not the firsttime Ferguson has been accused of making an illegal approach for a player. In his autobiography, Jaap Stam claimed he was approached by Ferguson to sign for Manchester United, without the United boss having been prior consent by Stam’s club PSV to talk to the player.