Ferguson keeping one eye on the future

ALEX FERGUSON has admitted Manchester United will need to “stretch” themselves in the transfer market to cope with a hat-trick of retirements.

For the second summer running, Ferguson has opted not to spend heavily in the transfer market.

United have invested in excess of £20 million (€23 million) to secure the services of Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and surprise capture Bebe, but the signature transfer to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez has so far failed to materialise.

Ferguson’s thrifty approach has led to accusations he is being handicapped by the huge debts incurred by the Glazer family, something both he and chief executive David Gill have denied.

The Red Devils boss has consistently pointed out that, due to the massive spending of Manchester City and Real Madrid, inflated prices mean there is no value in the market.

Apparently United were interested in one high-profile player this summer, only for Ferguson to discover quite quickly that the man in question was bound for an alternative destination.

However, he has conceded the retirements of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville over the next few years will present a problem.

“We are not at the point where we have to go overboard to get the best player in the world,” said Ferguson.

“There are enough really top players in the club at the moment.

“There may be a time in the next couple of years where we have to stretch ourselves, particularly when Ryan, Paul and Gary retire. Then, it is a possibility we would need to get really top players in to galvanise the younger ones coming through. But at the moment we have the experience.”

If City in particular are spending huge sums trying to force their way up the Premier League table, buying replacements for Giggs, Scholes and Neville will be an expensive business.

For now though, with that trio signed up for another season, and Ferguson not ruling out the possibility of Giggs at the very least going on even further, he is content to see if the entire backdrop starts to settle.

He continued: “We have no financial restrictions. If I hadn’t been confident maybe we’d have done something. But there was only one player I would have brought here and that move was sealed off quite early by the club he went to.

“The best thing we can do until the market becomes more sensible is produce or buy young players and develop them in the club.”

Tonight’s encounter with his old club Rangers presents Ferguson with the kind of decision he relishes.

After confirming he is looking past Neville and Giggs as his captain, the return of Rio Ferdinand from a knee injury means Ferguson has a straight choice between the England skipper and central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, who has performed well in the role so far this season.

Meanwhile Ferguson claims he has no regrets about leaving Wayne Rooney out of his Goodison Park starting line-up – and no fears about bringing him back tonight. Ferguson insists he was shielding Rooney from abuse at the weekend in the wake of allegations about his private life.

“I have no regrets,” said Ferguson of Saturday’s decision, which some have suggested was actually a punishment. “I left him out for the reasons I said. I was not going to subject him to that nonsense at that ground.”


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