Sir Alex Ferguson has been quoted by MUTV as saying that “we’re close” to signing Carrick from Tottenham and that while there had been some agreement between Manchester United and Tottenham over the transfer, everything was not final although it should be “finalised over the day or so”.
The price is mooted to be 14.5 (The Sun) to 15 mil (BBC Sport), and that would mean United are left with less than 8 mil with which to buy a second player (more on this calculation later).
Ferguson also commented on Defoe (we’re not getting him because Rossi is being groomed as a center forward) and Gattuso (no chance of getting him now), but its his acceptance that Carrick would be a Manchester United player soon that will interest fans from both sides.
Humble pie for Soccerlens, considering this rant blasting the tabloids earlier? I’m still angry at the way the story was broken, without any mention of sources or anything of that sort. I realise that in this business you have to protect your sources, but saying that Manchester United had already signed Carrick was still false and saying so without any . Then again, the Guardian and BBC Football also fell prey to this, citing ‘reports’ that had confirmed the signing – in essence BBC was just parroting The Sun.
About Manchester United’s transfer budget – we’ve always assumed that United had 20 mil stashed away for Diarra, but if that were true we would have moved for the player by now. We also assumed that the savings made by debt refinancing could be used to reinvest in the club, but apparently those were just that – savings. The AIG money is going into debt repayments as well.
This leaves us with only two sources of money – Obi Mikel (12 mil), and Ruud van Nistelrooy (10-11 mil). A 22-23 mil transfer budget is nothing to be sorry about, but considering that we are blowing 2/3rds of it on Carrick, we’re left with very little money to sign the ‘second midfielder’ that we so badly need.
Maybe Ferguson will sell Silvestre / Evra and scrap together 10 mil to buy a quality midfielder like Hargreaves (who will come for that price, methinks, especially if Manchester United structure the payments to rise according to appearances and trophies).
But now, all signs point to Carrick, but I’ll reserve judgment until we play in Amsterdam early next month.