Sir Alex Ferguson has once again stated that Manchester United will not spend during the January transfer window, claiming that there is no value in the market. The Scot, who spent around a quarter of the money received from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, insists that there will be no new arrivals at Old Trafford this winter.
“It’s still the case – I can’t see any real diamonds,” said Ferguson in his weekly press conference at United’s Carrington training base Friday.
“We’ve got the money – there’s no question about that. I just don’t see that player that can make a difference to us in terms of value and availability.”
Indeed, the manager is a reluctant January shopper even though some of his rare winter purchases have turned out to be key players for the club, including Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Louis Saha and Andy Cole.
“We struck lucky with [Nemanja] Vidic and [Patrice] Evra,” said the boss, of the January 2006 purchases from Monaco and Spartak Moscow.
“It took them time to adjust, but they’ve turned out to be terrific players.
“We signed Louis Saha in the transfer window, he was a marvellous player but ended up with a lot of injuries, and we got Andy Cole who turned out to be fantastic for us.
“There have been success stories for us, but you can’t guarantee that in January because you’re looking for players to possibly play in Europe and that is limited because of other teams’ involvement in Europe. So there’s never a certain success rate.”
But whether players are successful when brought to the club in January is a moot point, given Ferguson’s mantra that there is “no value in the market.” It’s the same one the Scot repeated in the summer to justify his failure a strengthen beyond Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen and Gabriel Obertan. With United having lost five Premier League games and been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle this season, the decision looks increasingly wide of the mark.
Indeed, value is a new focus for the manager who has always been happy to spend big. United, for example, paid well over market rate for each of Rio Ferdinand and Dimitar Berbatov in recent seasons.
More to the point, Ferguson has always been happy to push the board to spend heavily on exceptional talent. Wayne Rooney joined as a teenager for a touch over £25 million, while Juan Sebastian Veron joined for more than £28 million even though United possessed arguably the best midfield quartet the country has ever seen.
Since the Berbatov transfer United’s stated policy has changed, with the club now only willing to bid on players that will keep a resale value at the end of their contracts. Essentially this rules out any players aged over 26. The purchases of Antonio Valenica, Mame Biram Diouf and Gabriel Obertan fit into this policy, while Michael Owen was a free transfer.
Yet Ferguson is very unlikely to find value in the coming summer, with the World Cup placing a premium on any player who has a decent tournament. With winter 2011 no more likely to offer value-for-money, United’s manager may need to wait until August 2011 to buy unless a change of strategy takes place.
Perhaps the truth is a little harder to take: very few seriously buy into the manager’s proclamation, with the club’s £700 million debt beginning to bite into United’s transfer revenue. So unlikely is another large buy at the club that claims of wealth simply place the Scot on the eponymous emperor’s throne.
For it is the truth that dare not be said.
10 thoughts on “The emperor’s new clothes”
I think he is in a place where he is torn between waiting for some old bodies to retire (scholes and Neville) and waiting for some youth to develop (Gibson, Obertan, Welbeck, etc).
I can see us spending big at the end of this so called era when some of those legends hang up the boots.
Mind you Id love to get a star before the world cup ads 20 mil to his price tag
Sad to witness our slow demise. We are the new Arsenal.
Spot on Ed. I am not saying we must buy players because there really is no Value for money in the transfer market but then it is highly unlikely that will be the case in the summer and if we want a player who does well at the World Cup his price will soar and we can saftely say Chelsea and Madrid will outbid us and pay any ridiculous price to get their man.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s quite obvious that we’re skint and Fergie is telling porkies. “Value” has never affected his transfers in the past. The price always goes up when United are involved. I think the majority of fans know the real reason behind him not buying anyone.
like olliewilliie said.. he seems to be using the season to give the youngsters a bit of a chance. and at the same time waiting for the market to deflate after citeh and the facists went mad.
reckon he’ll get the checkbook out just before the world cup starts.. bit of a risk with regards to potential injuries but thats the time he’ll get best value
So, what happens this summer? The current bad weather could mean the season is extended, then top players will head straight off to join up with their world cup squads. A good international tournament for any player will push up their transfer fee. Rooney and Ferdinand classic examples.
Even at the youth end of the market, Fergie’s hands are tied. Ljajic features in 2010 United merchandise but was mysteriously dumped, Douglas costa has just gone to Donetsk. I have no idea if the pair were good enough for OT, but both were supposedly targets, in the case of Ljajic, obvoiusly so.
Historically, there was always a United premium on transfer fees, Denis Law, Joe Jordan, McQueen, Robson, Pallister, Carrick, Rooney, Ferdinand, Berbetov, all arguably fees that were in the immortal words of safe hands Gill on a certain Argentinian “a bit toppy”. In fact, the only real bargain fees I can think of are Cantona, Irwin, Schmikes and OGS, in the case of the last two, maybe because of naivety at Scandinavian clubs.
Not wanting to pay alleged over valuations is about as credible as not selling Real Madrid a virus!
Don Pablo: “We are the new Arsenal.”
This could be close to the mark, luckily we still have experienced world class players like VDS, Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Giggs, Rooney to hold the fort. Our chances of winning trophies rely alot on their performances.
The money to buy is there – I know it for a fact but don’t ask me how. Fergie is being honest in his opinion but anyone can see we are short of pace and flair (oh!, Ronaldo’s two biggest assets!) and if we have to pay a bit over the odds for top talent then it wouldn’t be the first time.
Nobody is frightened of us any more, all these teams who haven’t beaten us for years are either doing so or coming very close. We need to buy in January, will we (or any other club) ever have a better chance of winning 4 in a row? Don’t throw it away Fergie, swallow your pride and go for it – we need an exciting addition to re-ignite the team, the fans and the whole Club.
Man Utd desperately two players who can score goals along side Rooney. It is essential that we buy one or two recognised goal scorer/s in the January transfer window.
Forever red, you are right, the money is there. But it is not the Ronaldo money it is a new 75 m revolving credit facility )aka overdraft. The ronaldo money has gone on debt.