Manchester United has more than £150 million burning a hole in the club’s metaphorical pocket, the £243 million Payment-in-Kind (PIK) debt has been mysteriously refinanced and the Qatari Royal Family is apparently prepared to pay more than £1.5 billion for the club. All should be financially rosy at Old Trafford. Why then does Sir Alex Ferguson stubbornly refuse to invest in the playing squad, stating that the market lacks “value”?
Indeed, as United thrashed Birmingham City 5-0 at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon, Ferguson repeated the oft heard “no value” mantra, which many supporters have taken as a euphemism for Glazer-inspired austerity. That United has broken the £20 million barrier just once under Glazer ownership is symptomatic of a transfer policy that now focuses on the cheaper end of the market.
Yet, earlier this month Ferguson admitted that he wanted to “get one player” during the window, qualifying the statement – as always – with a warning about inflated transfer fees. But true to form in recent seasons, Ferguson has now ruled out any new signings in the January transfer window.
“I won’t be going into the transfer market during the present mid-winter window,” Ferguson told United Review on Saturday.
“I thought at one time that I would like to bring in just one player, but that has not worked out. I don’t feel that it is necessary to buy just for the sake of it because, as I say, I am more than happy with my squad.”
Yet, post-Wayne Rooney contract saga, noises emanated from the club suggesting Ferguson was handed a substantial transfer fund, with the Glazers spooked into action by the now infamous assertion that United “lacked ambition.” Indeed, many pundits painted Rooney’s eventual contract extension as a master-stroke by Ferguson; in one fell swoop he had secured his star player to a long-term deal and squeezed blood out of the Glazer stone.
Much has changed in the intervening two months though. Not only have Chelsea’s title aspirations crumbled in the ruins of poor winter form but United’s other rivals maintain no consistency either. If Manchester City had any pretensions on the title, recent defeats to Aston Villa and Everton have hardly helped.
Indeed, United’s two point lead over Arsenal could stretch to five with the game in hand being played against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night. In this sense, with Antonio Valencia due to return in the Spring, Ferguson has no desperate need to enter the market.
Yet there is arguably some truth in the criticism Ferguson’s side has faced this season. Flat-track bullies at home; poor on the road. United’s unbeaten record, as Arsène Wenger recently mooted, owes more than a little to the swings of fortune. Defeat, after all, should really have come at Sunderland and twice against West Bromwich Albion.
In a mediocre Premier League, the true test of United’s quality will come in Europe though, with a tough fixture against Marseille to come next month. Even if the Reds progress, as Ferguson’s outfit should, then the best on the continent still awaits.
These truisms leave fans wondering whether Ferguson really did want “one player” in the window – a creative central midfielder – and has subsequently been over-ruled by a Glazer family now bent on squeezing every penny out of Old Trafford before they eventually high-tail it back to Florida.
After all, the rumours of a £1.5 billion Qatari bid for United have an increasing air of authority about them. The price, set at £1.5 billion when the so-called Red Knights came to prominence a year ago, has now apparently increase to more than £2 billion if reports are correct.
Even the Qataris, rich from the world’s third largest reserves of natural gas, have baulked at that price, which represents a 20 times multiple on the club’s profits. The figure would also equate to a profit on the asset of more than £1 billion for the Glazers.
Nice work if you can get it.
There must also be serious question marks about whether Ferguson will be allowed to drain United’s cash reserves this summer, as had been widely briefed. Talk of a £100 million summer transfer budget to ‘radically’ overhaul Ferguson’s ageing squad has now given way to the ‘no value mantra’ and – laughably – the presumption that United alone in world football is able to buck the market by buying low and selling high.
United makes stars; it doesn’t buy them, goes the phrase, which now has more than a little of the dark arts about it. The club can compete in the market, it simply chooses not to, fans are repeatedly told.
“We can compete for top players,” said Gill recently.
“People say we don’t, but we have bought well, and our goal at Manchester United is to make sure we develop our own players and also buy good players.
“Over time, if you follow Manchester United, you will know we have rarely bought the world star. We have made them world stars by playing for United and that will continue.”
Gill, of course, forgets that United broke the transfer records of one form or another in signing Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Juan Sebastian Veron, Rio Ferdinand and Dimitar Berbatov in the last two decades.
But what are facts when there’s a PR war to win?
More importantly United remains a creative player short in central midfield. Ferguson’s mind has changed on that one. Supports must hope he has no cause to regret it.
42 thoughts on “Qataris wait as Fergie repeats ‘no value’ mantra”
“These truisms leave fans wondering whether Ferguson really did want “one player” in the window – a creative central midfielder – and has subsequently been over-ruled by a Glazer family now bent on squeezing every penny out of Old Trafford before they eventually high-tail it back to Florida.”
What fans? I haven’t heard anybody wondering that. Fergie had his eye on someone, probably Sanchez, the club said no we need him until the end of the season, you’ll have to wait ’til summer. That’s pretty normal in January.
Well said. Sick to death of reading this negative bullsh*t and questioning of Fergie on our own sites. Its crazy and you ought to be bloody ashamed of yourselves you pack of nobs.
sell u yankee fucks
I think Fergie is right. Just cos we CAN pay through the nose for a player doesn’t mean we SHOULD. I for one would be happier seeing United buy in more practical players than marquee signings. I don’t want United to become some kind of galactico false showing like Real are… and that is a danger should the Qataris come in and hand over a cheque for £200million a year, as appears to be the case across the divide.
Look at some of the players United have signed in the past few years. Berbatov aside, and he was a player Fergie wanted.. not exactly a superstar… Park Ji Sung, Hernandez, Anderson, Nani, Ronaldo, Valencia, the Da Silva twins… all of them less than £20million, half of them less than £10 and most of them worth more now. On top of that, their age guarantees that we will (or should) see the best of them over the next few seasons, particularly Anderson, Hernandez and the Da Silvas. You can see their respective improvements already this year.
Also, it wasn’t long ago that Ferguson went into detail regarding United’s transfer policy – he wants a spreads of players over a spread of ages, to ensure that we have a squad that (when the change to rules comes in in a couple of years) we will be in a strong position still, rather than languishing with a squad bloated with overpaid and overage players, like Shitty.
I, for one, do not question SAF about this, even if the fanatic side of me regrets it. I can see his point and I respect it fully… and bearing in mind our position in the league right now, it is a fair point too. If we win our two games in hand, we’re 8 points clear of Arsenal with only a dozen games to go. A more than healthy position for a team that you are questioning our need for more players… nonsense.
We are obviously favourites for the PL title, and Ferguson/Gill etc, will claim that justifies their faith in our squad… but as soon as we play a top European team in the Champs League, I expect Ferguson to play 4-5-1, and bore us to death… and if we lose… have more excuses than Benitez.
I feel that only a bad run in the PL will force Ferguson to act.
We are bored to death now.
And yes, top opposition will see us off.
What’s this about a meeting between United and the Qatari’s, Ed?
Got any insider info
SAFs hands and gonads are tied behind his back
he can’t say who he’d love to buy since he knows he won’t have the funds available despite the yankee cocksuckers saying anything else in public
they have got SAF toeing the party whip
I read your blogs often and have to say I am getting a bit tired of the moaning about Fergie not buying players.
I for one am quite pleased to see united doing so well without splashing that much cash. And I don’t blame Fergie for saying that there is no value in the market at the moment. Villa paying 24 mil for Darren Bent confirms yet again that the market has gone crazy and Fergie thinks just the same of it. United should keep concentrating on bringing through the youth and if the right player comes about for decent prise then they should buy. I for one don’t hope they will be buying players for crazy prices like 40 or 50 mil, I simply do not support that. Also paying these kind of prices will keep the market inflated.
Steven K – who said Fergie needed to spend £40 or £50m? There’s value everywhere. Ask Rafael van der Vaart.
Does he have his hands tied though, Han?
The Glazers aren’t in a position to sack him – the Bond document says as much. Well, it says the success might leave with the manager
SAF has not stated publicly who he would rate highly enough to buy for the club
he knows the funds just will not appear – so he has no choice except to say there’s little value in the market
despite gill saying the club can compete with city in the transfer market, we know its not true
Excellent article. Let’s hope the Qataris really are determined to make the Glazers’ an offer they can’t refuse and we can end this charade.
It’s an insult to our intelligence for Ferguson and Gill to keep pretending to have a huge mountain of money they simply don’t want to spend.
When can anyone remember Ferguson in the past not spending money when it’s available or being too concerned with overpaying?
No one wants us to go down the Galacticos path but we don’t want to go too far the other way either. We are currently a moderately good team in a very poor Premiership. That’s not enough. Where has our ambition gone?
No value in the market??? I think he’s frightened to spend money on a “flair player” or playmaker ever since juan sebastian veron, back then it was thought that an out and out playmaker would make a great united midfield unstoppable. It didn’t work out that way because he didn’t know how to best us him. Look at Berbatov last season nd the way he was TOLD to play which led to Ferguson come out and say “we didn’t know how to use him properly” he said that about a player whom he bought from a team that played in the same league not a player who was bought from some third division Brazilian team People will say what about Ronaldo well he was told by his players to sign him plus he was a winger… As much as it pains me to say he could learn a thing or two from Harry Redknapp, two world class playmakers in the spurs side that led our midfield on a merry dance. The no value in the current market saying will come back to bite him in the balls every time a VanDerVartt or Ozil type player gets signed for 8mill
At the moment no club in the world can compete with city and we for are one don’t need to,we are one or two players short in midfield,city and the other hand need to send big if their want to compete with us in the league.Sir Alex will spend when the time is right and the player that will improve the squad become available.
What you are now reading is what I told you guys last week. SAF is not interested in foreign over-priced players. He will look to bring in talented, class British players at reasonable prices. But this article has some merit. It is possible that he really does not have the big money to spend on superstars and he does not want to admit it because it could put his job in jeopardy if he does so. Hopefully, the Glazers will sellout and get out as soon as possible.
Read it * more nothing ness
Herbie, I think you have that backwards, the market is, and always will be at a premium for british players, where as the foreign players are always cheaper, that’s why the Premier league has in part become so successful i.e VDV of tottenham (proven player) £7m ish – Chamberlin unproven (potential) £10m ish, The talk of Bale at £40m+ for what, 1/2 a decent season, Henderson being put in the £20m+ bracket, it a joke. There is considerably less value in the UK market.
I agree that he probably doesn’t have very much money and all the rhetoric and bluster from Gill is just PR crap trying to make the horrible ginger leopricorns
look good and keep up the pretense that they care about the ‘brand’, and not how much they can shovel into their back pockets
I’d rather give the squad a chance than just buy. It’s not Championship Manager. What’s wrong with waiting till the price is right? We’re top of the league, won our CL group and are still in the cup. Better to give the young players the chance to grow and then assess properly in the summer.
Too simplistic again, Ed.
It’s not just a question of value – it’s availability and whether or not a player wants to come to United.
I don’t buy it that Mourinho wld have sold VDV to United – a direct and realistic rival to his UCL title. Robben and Sniejder were all Perez sales and again (my view) Perez would not sell us a virus. David Villa wanted to stay in Spain so went Barca and Ozil wanted to play for Mourinho as did the other prospect Kederia.
Also VDV is another hindsight kneejerk reaction since he was pants at RM hardly getting a game and no better than reasonable in the WC. Same could be applied to Bale whom we looked at but baulked at the 10m price tag. You win some, you loose some but to say value is everywhere is false.
It’s not just about value. As Wenger said at the weekend, he thinks there are very few players that are worth 30m plus so why piss money up the wall when players that are available and want to come to United are scarce.
Cost in someway is a secondary consideration, Keane, Rio, Ruud, Rooney, Hargo and Berbs wanted to come to United once we made it clear that we are interested – then we negotiated price.
To be honest I don’t actually mind Fergie spending astutely.
Most of his purchases have been less than 20m and they are all doing well and are an integral part of this team.Namely Nani,Anderson,Carrick,Valencia,Smalling and Hernandez.
Hell,we can even include Park in that list.
I am willing to give Fergie the benefit of doubt on this issue regarding our transfer policy as of now but if Fergie deciedes to go for a quality player(either in England or abroad) and if it will require a substantial amount of cash to get him here……the funds had better be available and the Glazers and Gill had better not break their promise.
I think the fact that United are top of the table with points and a game in hand is somewhat misleading. We have been the best of mediocre top 5 so far this season, largely thanks to an outstanding back 5 who have enabled us to edge a lot of tight games and nullify the likes of Tottenham at WHL. If Fergie can win the league it will be a testament to the genius of the man.
The real test of our team will come against Europe’s top sides. 2 seasons ago we were the most feared team in Europe, we do not have that fear factor this season – we’re a tough team to beat, but our game has become more focused around nicking a goal and shutting up shop (much like the chelsea team under Mourinho). As i say, Ferguson is making the most of the resources he’s got.
I still think (as i think most fans do) we are short of quality, particularly in the central midfield area. If the manager feels there is no value in the transfer market, then so be it. But, does he really see the transfer market changing any time soon? And also, if he has been told the money is there then why is concerned about value… does over 7 mil represent value for Bebe? His job is to get results on the pitch, not look after club finances off the pitch. Let the Glazers and Gill worry about that.
So many questions; is there really money to spend? who or how were the PIK loans paid off? are the Qataris interested in the club? what was said to rooney to convince him to stay? how has john o’shea forged a career in professional football? when will it hit home that Darron Gibson should not be in the squad just because he can hit the ball quite hard?
Sir Alex, if you’re reading this i called you a genius earlier. so in return can i have some answers? cheers gaffer
Sometimes Herbie, sometimes… I think we’d be better with you at the helm. I really do. Your insight and astuteness is a genuine joy to behold.
Personally I think that the current transfer policy is right for United. Take a look at the table and you’ll see it lead by United and Arsenal who have both adopted the same model. Chelsea and Liverpool both failed to bring in future talent and are now struggling.
The players bought recently have been excellent. Da Silvas, Ando (eventually), Nani, Tony V, Hernandez and Smalling. Tosic, Owen and Bebe are questionable, but Bebe’s time may not come till 2012/3 and Owen’s real ‘value’ is probably in training with the other forwards – Rooney has certainly stated as much.
But in order to stay at the top I do think you have to spend about £30M on a player at least once every 2 seasons – as well as picking up the young talents on the cheap. If we’d bought in De Rossi or Schweinsteiger, then United would be a very strong team, probably second only to Barca.
We’ve not done that and given the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez, the fans have obviously asked questions. My own view is that there is money there, but Fergie has become very cautious with big transfers and big wages too. In the main, he’s right about value, but there are exceptions to this – VDV and Ozil being extreme examples.
Perhaps the improvements of Berba and Ando this season will convince him (and the Glazers) that spending big can pay off. If United don’t spend big on VDS’s replacement, I will then concede that there really is not sufficeint money available.
he’s wasted most of the money the glazers have given him and there’s no value in the market because he demanded 80 mill for a player
United is a business and the the biggest outlay for any business has to be wages. Bringing in a big name means a big salary. SAF has already allocated a huge chunk of that to Rooney, so bringing in smaller names on smaller salaries just makes good business sense.
that makes sense – i remember him talking about the real cost of buying a player for big money. I think he was referring to David Villa; you buy him for 40 million euros, but on top of that his long-term contract brings the total figure to around 80 million invested in one player.
At the moment Rooney is not justifying his exorbitant wages. Ironic that his own demands are not only going to encourage other players to seeks an increase in their wage, but also prevent the club from purchasing the big name player/s he obviously wants.
With some of the big earners leaving in the summer (neville, hargreaves, carrick?, van der sar) i expect this to be less of a problem.
Got to love the Wenger comment about the unbeaten run owing something to luck. Are we seriously now going to accept that Arsenal panned everyone 6-0 in all their games unbeaten and had no fortune whatsoever? Impossible to do without i would suggest for anyone. For what its worth i agree with Fergie mostly. I would however be worried if we needed a striker and didn’t get Suarez for 18 million or whatever but we dont need a forward and all the creative MFs weve been linked with their clubs all want 30 million.
Why not believe the great man? He knows a world class creative midfielder would make us a very good team. He had identified one possibility, but no deal was on. Particularly in January finding the right player is very difficult. It is a fact of life that apart from money the player has to want to come to United. That ruled out Villa & Ozil. So quite possibly there was nobody out there who fitted the bill. Do any of you lot know ANYONE who fits the bill: top quality, under 27,available,would want to come to OT & is obviously better than Anderson, Carrick & Fletcher?
Its a good point. If you are going to buy big you have to be sure that they are better than what we have. What would our central midfielders fetch on the open market?
Anderson – £17.5 mill
Fletcher – £20 mill
Carrick – £10 mill
Gibson – £5 mill
Scholes – £5 mill
Cleverley – £7.5 mill
Rodwell and Henderson are good young English midfielders but would cost 20 mill each – are either definitely better than our best young midfielders Anderson or Cleverley? Probably not.
we wouldve get out money back on anderson, the general concensus is he’s been poor at b over four years, anything better than what chelsea got from villa for sidwell would be crazy money for fletcher
Petrovic, Sanchez, Defour, Kagawa, M’Vila, among others…
that should be ‘we wouldn’t get our money back for anderson’
all the “value” was spent on Rooney – the extra 150k per week in his salary which is at least two half decent players
“United’s unbeaten record, as Arsène Wenger recently mooted, owes more than a little to the swings of fortune. Defeat, after all, should really have come at Sunderland and twice against West Bromwich Albion.”
Sorry but that’s the biggest load of BS I’ve seen for some time. And I “should have” gotten a raise this year.
and I mean Wenger’s sentiment, not the author’s paragraph 🙂
I can understand why you would think that our players arent worth that much, but at the end of the day they have all the big match experience and are internationals.
Quote – “Fletcher – £20 mill”
surely you are joking?
The Scottish Player was great last year, but has been pants this one
I think you forgetting
Beckham, nevilles, giggs, scholes, Fletcher, o’shea, Brown, butt, etc all these cam through the youth rank and have produce history for MU but also we have to look at Cristano Ronaldo bought for 12.25m and sold for 80 so there is no value. And Fergie is one of the best managers in the world at bring in bargains
We are going to be stuck with them yankee cunts until at least 2017 so don’t expect any world class signings anymore.
no but gal says they’ll be gone in no time
They ain’t going nowhere we all know that.