Fergie: I have cash to spend

Alex Ferguson insists he has cash to spend in the January sales - but he does not expect to find any bargains.

With Manchester United in the middle of a defensive injury crisis, Sol Campbell's name had been put forward as a potential solution.

The mere fact a 35-year-old, who enjoyed his best days at Arsenal four seasons ago, was being linked with a move to Old Trafford fuelled speculation about the money Ferguson has at his disposal.

Critics of the Glazer family have never been scared of outlining their doomsday scenario for a club whose current debt stands at £790m, and are convinced the bulk of a world record £80m transfer fee received for Cristiano Ronaldo will go towards massive interest payments.

It is a stance that is condemned forcibly by sources close to the owners, who have always claimed Ferguson has the money to spend and it is his decision alone to keep the bulk of it.

And, in flattening any prospect of Campbell ending up at United, Ferguson has emphasised his view there is no value in players who might be available.

"It has been said I do not have the money so I want to get someone cheap. It is nonsense," he said.

"I don't know where the Sol Campbell story came from. He has had a great career but he is not of any interest to us.

"I am happy with the players I already have at the club. At this moment we are having a hard time with the centre-backs but I am sure by January we will have most of them will be back.

"The money is there if I wanted to use it. I didn't see any value in the summer and I don't see any value now either."

In fact, Ferguson does not see the situation changing for some considerable time.

He was blown out of the water by Real Madrid when he bid £30m for Karim Benzema and while the precise figures have never been revealed, it is thought Manchester City paid well over the £27m United were due to give Kia Joorabchian to acquire Carlos Tevez's registration.

It was part of a two-pronged assault on the transfer market that sent prices sky high.

Traditional big spenders such as Chelsea and United have been forced to decide whether to follow suit, or opt out altogether.

Despite arguments to the contrary, Ferguson is the one who chose the latter option at Old Trafford.

"Last summer was the silly season," he added. "Prices paid, or asked for about players we may have been interested in were not real. That is why I didn't do anything.

"I could spend the money but I am looking for value and it is possible that might not be there for a while."

Instead, Ferguson has intensified a search for younger players to develop.

Awarding home-grown youngster Danny Welbeck a new contract that will keep him at United until 2013 is part of that strategy, as was the proposed £10m transfer of Adem Ljajic, only for United to pull out of a deal for the Partizan Belgrade youngster when it became apparent he would not get a work permit.

But there are others, including Senegal's Mame Biram Diouf, who was signed from Norwegian club Molde in the summer, but who has impressed at United's Carrington training complex recently.

"He has been absolutely brilliant," said Ferguson. "He is very exciting and we will apply for a work permit in January.

"That is the kind of situation we are good at. Developing young players at the club and, at 21, he is looking very good."

Of the 14 senior players missing in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, four will return against Aston Villa tomorrow.

In addition to Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, Nemanja Vidic is back to partner Michael Carrick in central defence.

Against a side that could easily utilise John Carew and Emile Heskey in attack, having Vidic available after a flu virus could be vital.

"Nemanja is particularly important against Villa because they do cross the ball a lot," said Ferguson.

"If they were to play Heskey and Carew up front you would have a formidable task trying to deal with them because they are such big lads.

"Vidic is the one player who can cope with that and we are delighted he is back."

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