United won't be mugged on transfers - Ferguson

August 12, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted Manchester United will not be taken for mugs in the transfer market.

Despite being linked with scores of potential signings, Ferguson has brought only two new players to Old Trafford this summer, paying £18.6million for Michael Carrick before completing the capture of West Brom keeper Tomasz Kuszczak on Thursday.

The Scot remains in the hunt for extra midfield cover, with Villarreal's Marcos Senna and Bayern Munich's England international Owen Hargreaves of interest.

But Ferguson refuses to be drawn into spending the 'cavalier' amounts of money Chelsea have been splashing out, claiming it is now time for United to take a stand against clubs trying to milk them for every possible penny.

'I know this summer has been frustrating but there comes a point when you realise you can only take so much,' Ferguson told United Review.

'This close season has driven the point home even more that people are looking at Manchester United like a milch cow.

'Perhaps it is the cavalier amounts of money Chelsea have been spending which has upped the ante because the asking prices these days have soared to ridiculously high levels.

'It is as if the thinking is that if Chelsea can afford such and such, then we can expect Manchester United to pay through the nose as well.

'But it has got to the point where you can only take so much and I want to make it clear that we are not going to be taken for mugs.'

Ferguson's comments come amid claims he has severely overpaid for Carrick, although the United boss revealed he has been an admirer of the England international for some time.

His observations are probably directed towards his hunt for a striker to replace Ruud van Nistelrooy.

It was widely assumed Fernando Torres would fill the void but even though Atletico Madrid climbed down from their initial asking price in excess of £40million for the Spanish international, Ferguson was unwilling to part with £25million for a player still relatively unproven at top-class level.

Instead, the United chief has decided to stick with Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney as his first-choice strikeforce, supplemented by fit-again Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Alan Smith - who should be available in a fortnight - and rising star Giuseppe Rossi, who will stay at Old Trafford this season after Ferguson previously toyed with the idea of sending him out on loan.

'Maybe we have to become stronger in our belief in our own players and trust in the quality of those we are continuing, as always, to bring through,' said Ferguson.

'We do not expect to get players on the cheap but at the same time, we have to stick to our values and make a stand.'