Sir Alex Ferguson says that Manchester United will target just one transfer this summer, while failing to replace Ben Foster who will join Birmingham City for £6 million this week. Speaking in New York, Ferguson effectively confirmed a second summer of regression with United’s transfer market activity highly restricted.
Following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez last summer, Sir Alex brought in Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia as the close season’s only senior signings.
With youngsters Javier Hernandéz and Chris Smalling joining United for pre-season training, Ferguson says there will again be no major rebuilding of his squad this summer.
“In the market today it’s very, very difficult and the structure of our squad is good in terms of ages, the balance, the numbers and there’s a lot of good young players,” the United boss told the press in New York today while promoting the club’s forthcoming tour of North America.
“Sometimes you have to trust in all the development of the last few years and I’m going to stick with that, or most of it.
“There may be one signing and maybe we’d like to get a good player to the club, of course, but it’s not easy in the present day climate and I’ve nothing definite to tell you because we’re still assessing whoever’s available and the difficulties in terms of who you’d bring in.”
Ferguson also confirmed that United will not purchase a goalkeeper this summer, with the club previously linked to moves for Hugo Lloris, Igor Akinfeev and Manuel Neuer.
“When we decided to let Ben (Foster) go, we were in the process of letting a good young goalkeeper, Ben Amos, go out on loan,” Ferguson said.
“He’s in the England Under-21 team but we can only accommodate three goalkeepers. So when the situation with Ben’s future at Manchester United came into it and we agreed to let him go, we stopped Ben Amos from going on loan.
“He will now be our third goalkeeper, he’s very talented and has a good future ahead of him.”
Amos spent part of last season on loan at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club Molde in Norway, appearing in eight league matches, although the 20-year-old ‘keeper has not always held on to his first team place.
Unless Edwin van der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak suffer injury Amos’ development will be limited to the reserves next season.
Sitting alongside Ferguson in New York, club ceo David Gill once again claimed that Ferguson has money to spend but that new Premier League squad rules limits potential activity.
From August the Premier League restricts squads to a 25-man limit, which must include eight home-grown players. Those players under-21 do not count towards the squad limit.
Strange then that United already has 12 home-grown players in the probable squad for 2010/11 and just 23 players likely to fall inside the Premier League limit. That is without the potential departures of under-performing squad members such as Anderson, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov.
Although Gill reiterated the board’s stance that United’s £716.5 million corporate debt is serviceable few fans will believe the United chief. The bond interest payments total more than £45 million per season, while the Glazers will take at least £70 million from United’s cash reserves this summer as the family pays down Payment-in-Kind debt.
“We easily can meet those interest payments,” Gill claimed.
“We’re very confident the business model we have in place will be secure and will ensure the club can continue to compete at the top of football for many years to come.”
Many United supporters will wonder how that Gill can make that assurance with no investment in the playing squad.