Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he expected rivals Arsenal and Chelsea to spend more money in the transfer window than they have done so far.
United have splashed over £50 million on David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young, but Arsenal have landed just two – Gervinho from Lille and Carl Jenkinson from Charlton – while Chelsea have only bought Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whom they have loaned out to Atletico Madrid.
“I expected more buying,” he said. “Especially the likes of Arsenal. I thought they’d have bought a few players. But it’s early days – August 31 is a long way off and a lot can happen.
“Chelsea haven’t really been busy except with the manager [Andre Villas-Boas needed his €13.5 million buyout clause paid], who will need time to adjust the squad he’s got.”
Two more rivals for the Premier League title have spent over £50 million, though, as Manchester City and Liverpool bought the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam among others.
Indeed, Ferguson is expecting both to challenge at the top of the league this season.
“City have bought Gael Clichy and look as though they’re signing a few more [Aguero has since joined]. We expect a big challenge from these two [City and Liverpool],” he said. “Liverpool have bought a few players, but the important thing is to look at ourselves. We’re experienced and have the players to go the distance in all the competitions.”
The United boss also said that his side have not been handed the easiest of starts to the campaign.
“The start looks one of the most difficult ones for us – Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all early on,” he added. “If we take each one on an individual basis then we can handle it. We have the squad and the players to do that.”