Manchester United's attempts to regain the Barclays Premier League title from Chelsea will not tempt the deposed champions to break their wage structure, it emerged last night.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been told by the club's owners he can spend as much as he thinks is appropriate on transfer fees this summer but has been warned that the club will not pay inflated wages.
Aware that Chelsea and, in particular, neighbours Manchester City are happy to throw huge salaries at the world's best players, United have taken an in-depth look at their own policy.
It is understood that although United are aware it could cost them players, as it did when Karim Benzema moved to Real Madrid from Lyon last summer, Ferguson, chief executive David Gill and the Glazer family will stick to the methods they believe have contributed to their success over the years.
Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are among United's top earners with wages in excess of £100,000 a week. That figure is likely to be exceeded when Wayne Rooney renegotiates his contract at the end of the summer.
However, these figures pale in comparison with Emmanuel Adebayor's £190,000 a week at City and the £150,000 Chelsea pay John Terry and Frank Lampard. City also offered Chelsea skipper Terry more than £200,000 a week to join them last summer.
According to Old Trafford sources, the club lost Benzema to Madrid last summer when the France striker demanded 'stupid money', even though United had agreed a £30million transfer fee with Lyon.
This could happen again this summer but United remain sanguine and confident that a policy aimed at keeping the club's dressing room strong will not backfire.
New deal: Wayne Rooney will renegotiate his United contract this summer
With much attention still being directed at the stewardship of the Glazer family, sceptical United fans will no doubt feel the Glazers' financial restrictions are stopping the club from being competitive in the transfer market.
Nevertheless, the owners' message is that the manager will be given the £40m that remains unspent following last summer's £80m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo and more if he wants it.
So far, the feeling is that Ferguson, rightly or wrongly, will not make stellar signings as he looks to make up ground on Chelsea. Having already recruited Fulham defender Chris Smalling and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez since Christmas, United have now added six players - Michael Owen, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf and Antonio Valencia were brought in last summer - since Ronaldo was sold a year ago.
On his way: Fulham's Chris Smalling (left) will join United in the next few weeks
Ferguson has suggested that two more will arrive in the coming weeks, one of whom is sure to be a goalkeeper, but it appears that United fans keen for a really big arrival may have to wait a while longer.
Yesterday the Red Knights group currently looking to put together a £1.2billion buy-out package released a statement saying they will not attempt to pay over the odds for the club.
This came on the back of leaks from the Glazer camp last week that the family had already turned down £1.5bn from a consortium in the Far East.
A spokesman for the Red Knights group said last night: 'We have had productive conversations with potential investors in recent weeks which have reinforced our belief that it is wrong to offer above fair value, particularly given the urgent need for the club to reduce debt; and that fair value is likely to be reducing over time given the headwinds facing the game of football. Accordingly, we will continue to build support in a measured way and will give a further update in due course.'
It is understood that the Glazers remain determined not to sell United and it was even suggested last night that they would be happy to receive a Red Knights offer just so that they could turn it down.
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