European failure will not affect United's spending

November 25, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson insists a £20million Champions League calamity against Benfica will not alter his January transfer targets.

After shock defeats to FC Copenhagen and Celtic, Manchester United suddenly find themselves pitched into another last-day decider with the Portuguese giants.

Twelve months ago, when a draw would have been enough to seal a place in the last 16, the Red Devils came up short, sliding to defeat despite taking an early lead through Paul Scholes.

This time around, the challenge is not quite as tough as Ferguson's men have home advantage on December 6.

But a second failure on the trot would be very costly as new owner Malcolm Glazer looks to balance the books following his controversial £790million takeover.

With around £10million in guaranteed prize money for the winners, plus gate receipts of £3million per game to fall back on, the price of defeat would be very high indeed.

However, having already come up with a few ideas to strengthen his squad when the transfer window opens, Ferguson will not be deflected from his path.

'We have some ideas about January next year which will not change no matter what the results,'said Ferguson.

England international Owen Hargreaves is still thought to be on United's hit-list despite Bayern Munich's insistence the midfielder - still sidelined with a broken leg - is going nowhere.

Ferguson is also desperately in need of striking reinforcements even though Giuseppe Rossi is due to return from his loan spell at Newcastle at the end of the year.

Struggling Charlton have already declared top scorer Darren Bent off limits, while United continue to be strongly linked with a £20million move for Atletico Madrid's Spanish World Cup star Fernando Torres.