MANCHESTER, England, AFP
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has made the clearest warning yet that the English Premiership champions need new signings, the Manchester Evening news reported on Monday.
Ferguson even went as far to say it would be a “real kick in the teeth” if new blood was not introduced at Old Trafford.
The 19-million-pound (US$27 million) signing of Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven should, Ferguson believes, have paved the way for a whole host of new faces.
Ferguson’s view is at odds with United’s chief executive Peter Kenyon who only believes the “odd tweak” is needed.
Irish midfielder Roy Keane fiercely questioned the squad’s commitment after losing their European Champions League quarter-final to Bayern Munich last season, saying new blood should be introduced. Ferguson said Kenyon’s performance in bringing in new players would be under scrutiny during the summer.
“This is a very important summer for Manchester United,” said Ferguson.
“I made the point at the end of the season that we need to bring in a couple of top players and many of the players have said the same thing themselves.
“I think it would be a real kick in the teeth for our fans, the players and everyone else if we didn’t succeed in buying a couple of top-quality players.
“I think this is also an important summer for Peter Kenyon. This will be his first close season in the transfer market since he got the job last year and it is his first chance to let United fans know that he’s trying his best.
“They’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what happens and I think there will be real disappointment for everyone if nothing happens.
“I think it would be the worst thing for the fans because they have been putting their money in for the past two years and we’ve only really bought Fabien Barthez in that time.
“Last season we sold five players and only added Fabien and you can’t keep selling players like that. It’s very important that we register our desire to build on what we’ve achieved.”
Ferguson was certain without fresh faces, it would be hard for the club to reach the heights of the last few years. which has seen them win seven Premiership titles in nine seasons and the Champions League crown in 1999. “Unlike at the start of other seasons when this was a blossoming team, I think the squad now needs and wants a challenge,” said Ferguson, just back from a three-week holiday. “I can sense that in the dressing room.
“As a group they still take a hell of a lot of beating, but there comes a point where that stops and you have to go on further.
“I think they’ve come to the point where they need a new challenge and they need new big-name faces in the dressing room to provide that.
“If we don’t bring in new players during this summer, I think it will be very difficult for the players in the new season.”
United may just put a smile on the face of Ferguson should they manage to bring in 23.5-million-pound-rated Juan Sebastian Veron of Argentina from Lazio this week.
United are carefully keeping an eye on the goings-on at Highbury however and Ferguson has not hidden the fact he would rather have tough-tackling Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira.