It’s a well known fact within the game that many players believe that clubs will pay them whatever they demand for their services, or at least their own agents lead them to think that way. Granted, some clubs are totally irresponsible with the amount of money they throw around but Manchester United is not one of them. The club simply refuses to give in to demands which are nothing short of blackmail and has vowed not to break its wage structure.
A determined attempt to regain the Premier League title from Chelsea will not tempt the deposed champions to break the bank on players wages. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been told by club owners that 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 the club is 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 calm and confident that a policy aimed at keeping the club’s dressing room strong will not backfire.
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.
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.
A close look at the United squad reveals that there should be no need for major surgery unless unexpected departures occur. With the addition of one or two quality players that Ferguson is considering and barring any long term injuries, there will be enough talent available to mount a strong challenge in a determined attempt to regain the title.
Is Ferguson right not to give in to blackmail even though some players may go elswhere?