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Sir Alex Ferguson vows not to blow Manchester United's transfer fund
Published : 13 Jul 2009 22:06:48
Ferguson, who believes that fees have been inflated in a transfer market that has "caught fire", has attracted only Owen, Wigan midfielder Antonio Valencia and Bordeaux winger Gabriel Obertan – at a total cost of £21 million – to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, who scored 41 goals between them last season. United tried to sign Lyon forward Karim Benzema, but Ferguson said those plans were held up by confusion over Carlos Tevez's future at Old Trafford. Related ArticlesOwen given No 7 shirtUnited renew Costa interestManchester United player Federico Macheda robbedEto'o wants United moveMan Utd Transfer TalkSport on televisionBenzema then rejected United in favour of Real Madrid, prompting Ferguson's surprise swoop for former Newcastle striker Owen this month and, although the 29 year-old's arrival on a free transfer could yet prove an inspired bargain, it was greeted with the headline "United sign unemployed dwarf" on one fans' website. Fears among supporters that United have thrown in the towel in a market dominated by the spending power of Real and Manchester City have been ruled out by Ferguson, however. The United manager insists that his transfer dealings are done for the summer and that, with the market overheating, he will not waste the club's money simply to match Real and City's spending. "I can only placate fans one way and that's by not being stupid," Ferguson said. "We have that wonderful sum of money from Real Madrid [£80 million for Ronaldo], but we are not going to throw it away and spend it in situations when an extra zero is being placed on the end of transfer fees. "Some of the values across the world now are amazing. Some of them that get tossed about are sky high. "I don't think any of the transfers, if you look at them, are realistic. But for some reason, it has caught fire this summer. It is unusual and very difficult to get value because of that. "We are in the middle of a very difficult summer in football, but I think we have got good value and that is the right way to go for us. "We have always had to pay a bit extra but, this summer, we were not prepared to do that and I think we have concluded our business." United's failure to land Benzema, a long-term target, was partly due to the club's refusal to enter an auction with Real. Old Trafford's owners, the Glazer family, have given Ferguson the authority to spend the Ronaldo money, but he insists he will not pay over the odds for any player. He said: "As far as we were concerned, the [Benzema] price tag was beyond his value and if other clubs want to go to that, then it's entirely their business. "We had a value and didn't want to go above that position. Maybe Lyon thought we undervalued him and that's fine, it's their decision. They got 42 million euros for him and they will be happy with that. "But what does that tell people about Manchester United? It tells you we are sensible. Real Madrid are not nearly as afraid of debt as anyone else in the world, but we're happy with the way we operate." Ronaldo's exit for Real has left United with a big hole to fill. And while Owen has been handed the No 7 shirt vacated by the Portuguese, Ferguson insists that United need not mourn Ronaldo's departure. He said: "The £80 million figure was what we always wanted. It was non-negotiable, take it or leave it, but there was no need to have a knee jerk reaction to losing him. We did very well to keep him for six years. It was his moment to leave and we allowed him to do that. "We should not panic because of one player leaving. I have brought in youth in Antonio and Gabriel and an 'old codger' in Michael. That will balance things up. "Experience is vital and I know that Michael will score a lot of goals for us. We looked at his situation and, for a few months, we mulled it over. Michael knows that. "I still had an intent to bring another player [Benzema] in, but what confused us was waiting for a decision from Carlos Tevez. "We were not getting any answers and it put us in quite a quandary in terms of what we should actually do. I phoned him on holiday and he never came back to me. I texted him twice – he never got back. Obviously he had made his mind up. "We waited long enough and we tried to get Benzema, but as soon as that dropped through, we went for Michael."