United's wishlist remains intact, says Gill
Sir Alex Ferguson will not be suddenly making a hasty review of his summer transfer targets before tidying up his desk and heading off for his annual month-long June holiday. David Gill gave the green light to spend again yesterday, but the Old Trafford chief executive already knows the names on Fergie's shopping list. The fact that, for the second time in May, Gill has publicly announced that United have the cash to buy and that isn't news, least of all to the United boss. But there are still some doubters and Gill's repeated statement only increases their concerns. Gill has already formulated the way forward for the deposed champions. Targets have been identified and now it is up to him to make it happen. At the beginning of this month Gill told the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association's magazine Rollin' Reds' that Fergie did not have his hands tied in the transfer market. He told the mag's interviewer that he could look him in the eye' and tell him that transfer funds were available to the United manager. Fergie has also been on record numerous times insisting he can spend what he likes in the transfer market and controversial owners the Glazers are not limiting his funds in order to service Old Trafford's debt. But, once again, Gill has used the phrase again to give an honest view of the money in the bank waiting to be wired if and when Fergie's chosen targets are nailed down. The money is there. People say Alex is saying that because he has to. Anyone who knows Alex Ferguson knows he wouldn't say that if he didn't mean what he said, said Gill. Restricted The money is definitely there. We are not in a situation whereby Alex is restricted in what he wants to do with the club and his methods as a manager. We have never said: You can't do that, we have to pay interest on the debt. I can look you in the eye and say that. He would say exactly the same thing. People don't believe it. We never said to him: You can't go for that player because he's too much'. Despite the consistent noises coming out of Old Trafford maintaining the same cash is available' line many United fans refuse to accept the party line. They remain suspicious that, since a world record fee of £80m came into the Reds' account last summer for Cristiano Ronaldo, United's outlays since have been modest. The purchases since Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid of Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan, and since the New Year, Chris Smalling (from Fulham) and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, add up to £37m. But not landing a marque signing and breaking transfer records is, the dissenters argue, evidence that United are not shopping at the same exclusive market as City, Chelsea or Real Madrid. Of course, signing off a whopping cheque for £50m-plus would be proof positive that Fergie can do what he likes with United's money and the transfer well is indeed a deep one. It would kill off part of the anti-Glazer groups arguments at a stroke. But Ferguson's transfer dealings have always been a mixture of prudence and extravagance. He has spent peanuts on players who have become Old Trafford legends and swell his bargain buy debit column like Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and even Cristiano Ronaldo at £12.5m comes into that category. At the expensive end of the market he has also had his fingers burnt at times. Off-setting record-buy successes like Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney have been Juan Veron and Dimitar Berbatov. There was no knee-jerk response to Chelsea's initially money-no-object revolution in 2004. United won back the title with a carefully devised plan of action that was a mix of purchases and the Reds' own products and young acquisitions who'd grow with the club. It was the same calm approach when City and Real Madrid sent the transfer market spirally crazily upwards last summer. Once again Fergie has insisted it will be the same response to losing the title to Chelsea again and the fightback will not mean a mass exodus or a colossal number of new imports. While the guessing games continue and names like Franck Ribery, Luka Modric, Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart continue to be linked, Fergie will already know if his wishlist is successful how much will have to be stumped up. What do you think? Have your say.
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