Fergie coy on midfield arrival
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to confirm he is in the market for a new midfielder.
Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to confirm he is in the market for a new midfielder this month.
The Manchester United manager was typically evasive during his latest press conference, although he did confirm Patrice Evra is following Nemanja Vidic through the entrance at Old Trafford.
With three more midfielders leaving the club on loan on Friday - Chris Eagles, Mads Timm and Liam Miller - it must be a strong bet that Ferguson will strengthen this area, even though his biggest spending will be done in the summer.
Yet the Scot hinted that he feels Alan Smith, John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher could be up to the task of helping out Paul Scholes in the middle of the park.
"Am I trying to bring players in?" he said to Sky Sports News. "We do like a squad for all eventualities and, with Roy Keane leaving, we're one short in midfield.
"Alan Smith has done a good job. Darren Fletcher has started to come back to his game again and John O'Shea has done quite well.
"I'm happy with the squad numbers right now. Yes, I'm finished [spending]. For today. There's no point discussing that [a new midfielder] as I think it's old hat really.
"I'm not going to discuss that - it's old hat."
Ferguson has welcomed his new arrivals Vidic and Evra as the competition for places at the back will be fierce.
"Vidic is only doing endurance work," said Ferguson. "He's not played since November 22, that was his last game.
"He's got a programme with the fitness coach in terms of doing almost like pre-season work.
"It's difficult to say [when he will make his debut]. It depends on how he comes through the next week or so, when we will have a better idea.
"He won't be involved on Sunday nor next Wednesday at Blackburn.
"The age of he and Evra are good ages, 24 years of age and they're developing.
"The Evra deal is done. He gives us a different option in the left back position as he is naturally left-footed, very quick and a good footballer. I said some weeks ago that we lacked options as we cut the numbers quite dramatically and had injuries with Gabriel Heinze, for a full year, and Quinton Fortune's problem.
"So it's important to bring in a left-sided player. Evra was a front player as a kid but then went left and, for the last three years, he's been playing left back at Monaco."
Ferguson angrily reacted to the suggestion that the signings signalled the end of Mikael Silvestre's United career.
"Did I say that?" he enquired.