Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson warns against January buys

Sir Alex Ferguson has cautioned against Manchester United supporters expecting a sudden influx of January signings following this week's Champions League exit.

Debate amongst fans about the reason for United's stunning slide has centred around the midfield. Many felt it was lacking quality even before Paul Scholes' retirement in the summer, and injuries to Tom Cleverley and Anderson, plus Michael Carrick's suspension forced Ferguson to rely on 37-year-old Ryan Giggs and teenage rookie Phil Jones as his central midfield partnership in Basle.

It seems like an unsustainable situation, especially for a club of United's standing. However, Ferguson said: "It is very difficult to buy players in January."

He added: "You don't just want to buy any player simply because it gives you another one. You want to buy someone who can make a difference.

"We have only had maybe four or five signings in my time here in January. It is not a consistent route for us simply because of all the disadvantages."

The disadvantages are even more complicated this year because United are still familiarising themselves with the rules of the Europa League.

For United, that means they would be allowed to add one player to their Europa League squad who has played in the Champions League this season, as long as it was not for one of the other seven clubs who have been dropped into the secondary competition.

"It is not easy to get players in January," said Ferguson.

"I am not quite sure if you went for a player if he could play in the Europa League. There is criteria there in the sense of playing in the Champions League and whether they could play in the Europa League.

"There are a lot of issues there but there is nothing in my mind at the moment."

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