Manchester United chief executive David Gill has hinted Alex Ferguson could have £100m to spend in the summer transfer market.
There have been widespread rumours Ferguson’s hands are being tied by United’s owners at present, which explains why the vast majority of the world record £80m fee received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo remains unspent.
Even a £12m deal for Fulham’s highly-promising England Under-21 defender Chris Smalling will not go through until the summer.
And with debts, excluding the controversial and highly expensive payment-in-kind notes owed by the Glazer family – nudging over £500m, the worry is the situation is not going to get any easier.
But, as he tried to ease the worries of supporters, Gill insisted Ferguson has plenty of cash at his disposal.
“The owners understand that they will only get value back by ensuring the team continues to be successful and continues to attract exciting players and produces results off the pitch as well,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.
“They are in it for the long term. I do not have a clue about how many players we would buy in the summer.
“We do our planning throughout the year but the money will be there and it might be more than £55m. We have well over £100m in the bank, so we will assess the squad over the next few months and go into the market as appropriate.”
One man who definitely will not be sold is Wayne Rooney as the doom merchants have suggested.
Indeed, Gill is adamant a new contract is in the offing this summer for the 24-year-old, who scored his 22nd goal of the season in yesterday’s astonishing demolition of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
“We would hope Wayne would stay with us until he has finished playing,” said Gill. “He has a contract to 2012 and that will be addressed during the close season because we would want to put him on a new long-term contract.
“We have not got round to those discussions yet because Wayne is focussing on the football and the World Cup.
“But he is 24 and has his best years ahead of him. For obvious reasons, very few UK-based players want to leave Manchester United.”