A frustrated Ferguson has seen targets Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Michael Essien all snub United in favour of Roman Abramovich’s Londoners, while the belief within United circles is that John Obi Mikel’s U-turn over his proposed move to Old Trafford is because he’ been told Chelsea are interested.
Although new owner Malcolm Glazer has pledged to back a major transfer plunge in January, Ferguson knows he will have to sidestep any targets Chelsea identify, which is why he is placing so much faith in his club’s youth system to provide a platform for the future.
“I do not think we would even think about competing with Chelsea,” Ferguson said. “If Chelsea go for a player we are interested in, we’re not going to beat them, so there is no point even going for him unless, like Park Ji-sung, they are of a mind to join United.
“But any young player wanting to progress his career should think seriously about joining us because, as our record proves, we do give them a chance.”
United’s latest batch of young talent were on show last night against Coca-Cola League two outfit Barnet in the Carling Cup.
For a long time now, the United boss has used the competition to give his fringe players a game.
The tactic has not stopped his side reaching the last four in successive seasons, although, with so many injuries to his first-team squad, it is difficult to see last night’s inexperienced starting line-up advancing that far without a very favourable draw.
Adam Eckersley, Richie Jones and Lee Martin, the 18-year-old snapped up for £1million from Wimbledon two years ago, were the debutants, while strike duo Giuseppe Rossi and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake made their first starts, having come off the bench previously.
“I hope the fans will see the years ahead will be very good for these players,” Ferguson said.
“I am trying to lay the foundations for Manchester United and I want to build something that will last for years, not two minutes.”