Fergie can make one big signing

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Alex Ferguson has been given the go-ahead to strengthen his squad with a player of “very high quality”.

Ferguson insists he is pleased with his additions — defender Chris Smalling and striker Javier Hernandez. However Smalling has limited top-flight experience with Fulham while Hernandez has none at all after arriving from Guadalajara, and chief executive David Gill insists cash is available for Ferguson to enter the transfer market again.

“The money is there if we believe there is a player who can improve what we believe is a very good squad,” Gill said.

“The team has been together for a number of years and done very well. In order to improve it, a player has to be of a very high quality.

“We are always looking at players. Overall I think Sir Alex is very comfortable with the squad. That’s not to say something won’t happen, but I think it is a ‘might’. “We will see what happens over the next six weeks.”

Hernandez is set to make his bow today against the MLS All-Stars at the Reliant Stadium after linking up with the squad.

He was given time off after the World Cup in South Africa, where he scored two goals for Mexico.

Meanwhile Paul Scholes accepts playing two or three games a week for United is now out of the question but he is determined to win the title back from Chelsea.

Along with Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville — who has stayed at home because of a calf injury — Scholes, 35, concedes they are given more rest now by Ferguson.

He said: “I know that playing two or three times a week it is not going to happen any more. So you just have to be ready when needed.

“It is accepted, definitely, given there are that many games and at our age we have to be ready when the manager needs us.

“You train every day and I did not miss a day’s training last season, which was good. I managed to avoid injury. When you are at a club like this you have to be capable of doing that, especially like last season when we had that many injuries.”

United had to be content with the League Cup last year and Scholes reflected on a spell in December when a number of defenders were sidelined at the same time.

He said: “We didn’t win what we wanted to but were not that far off. You do not want to use excuses but the injuries we had were shocking.

“Hopefully most of us can stay fit this year and hopefully we can go one step further than last season.”

Nani could continue his comeback from a dislocated shoulder in the tour’s showpiece match.

But Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea look sure to miss out with niggling injuries.

Ferguson admits he is in a dilemma over whether to include injured players Owen Hargreaves and Anderson in his squad under new Premier League rules. Every team has to name a pool of 25 players, including eight who have been at the club for three years before they turned 21. Those under 21 do not count.

The list has to be in at the end of the summer transfer window and renewed if needed in January.

Ferguson said: “It does give me a problem, but I have just got to wait as long as I can.”

While Ferguson has money to spend, the money problems of their European rivals Barcelona are becoming increasingly worrying.

The Catalans lost more than €77 million last season and now have a net debt of €442m, the club’s vice-president for economic affairs Javier Faus revealed yesterday.

A new audit shows Barca had an income of €408.9m for the 2009/2010 season, but costs amounting to €477.9m. Further spending of around €8m means the overall deficit is calculated at €77.1m.

“The figures presented by the former board don’t reflect the real image. They have cheated,” Faus said.

“There is a structural problem. The sporting excellence in the last few years has not been reflected in economic excellence.”

Barca recently took out a loan of €155m after falling behind with the payment of player wages in June. Defender Dymtro Chygrynskiy was also hastily sold to Shakhtar Donetsk to raise much-needed funds for the club.

Nevertheless, Barca have already signed striker David Villa this summer for €40m and are willing to spend as much or even more to bring Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas to the Nou Camp, although Arsenal are refusing to even enter talks.


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