Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Ferguson rules out winter signings for Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled out making new signings to ease his defensive injury crisis.

United lost for the second time in three games when they were hammered at Fulham on Saturday.

The result leaves them four points adrift of Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea and Ferguson is acutely aware that unless United's form improves quickly, they can forget about a record fourth consecutive title.

With seven senior defenders - Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, John O'Shea, Gary Neville and Rafael Da Silva - out of action, plus keeper Edwin van der Sar, it was felt Ferguson may make an emergency signing, even though he had already ruled out the possibility of out-of-contract Sol Campbell joining the Old Trafford outfit on a short-term basis.

However, with the majority of his players due back at some point in January, Ferguson will not be making any additions.

"That is not come onto the agenda," he told Key 103.

"We hope that Wes Brown will be back in a week or 10 days' time, Rio Ferdinand is improving, Gary Neville is getting there and Rafael Da Silva has now started training.

"We are not so bad and we are not looking at signing players."

Under the circumstances, Ferguson is probably relieved that United's Festive programme has been pushed back from the planned timescale.

What would have been a Boxing Day trip to Hull will now take place on December 27, with the home encounter against Wigan now not being played until December 30.

The Red Devils should be confident of getting maximum points from those two games, even with a weakened line-up, after which they are not in league action again until January 9, when they face in-form Birmingham at St Andrew's.

Despite the denial, Ferguson continues to be linked with new faces.

Fiorentina keeper Sebastien Frey is believed to be being monitored by United, who have still not been informed by Van der Sar whether he is going to extend his career by another season.

Frey does have a £17million release clause in his contract. However, as he has already featured in this season's Champions League for Fiorentina, who have booked themselves a last 16 meeting with Bayern Munich, it seems unlikely the 29-year-old will move at this stage.

Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa is also said to be on Ferguson's radar and is available following a bust-up with coach Didier Deschamps.

Signing Ben Arfa would represent a gamble given his unhappy disciplinary record, which includes having to be pulled away from Djibril Cisse during a training ground fracas just a fortnight after his summer arrival at Marseille.

However, having enjoyed so much success with Eric Cantona, who hardly represented a meek presence in the face of authority, that reputation alone is unlikely to deter Ferguson if he decides to pursue the 21-year-old.

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