Fergie always planning for the future
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson admits he is continually plotting for Manchester United's future and has refused to condemn some of last summer's signings as Old Trafford flops.
The long-serving Red Devils chief is aiming to usher in a new era and introduced several young faces into his squad last term.
While Tim Howard and Cristiano Ronaldo have proved valuable additions, the likes of Kleberson and Eric Djemba-Djemba have yet to demonstrate their talent.
Ferguson also raided the transfer market in January for Louis Saha, who has made an impressive start to his United career, while Alan Smith has been added to the ranks for next season.
With players such as Roy Keane entering the twilight of their careers, Ferguson concedes he must continue looking at the long-term future of the club.
"The future of the club is a preoccupation and that's why I'm always on the look-out for certain signs," Ferguson told the News of the World.
"When I see, for example, that Roy Keane had an operation on his hip and will be 33 in August, that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been injured for most of the season and will be 32 next year, then I can't allow myself to wait for them to take their retirement.
"So I am always having to try to make sure the reconstruction process is an evolutionary one.
"That's why we bought lots of young players last summer. Some of them have done well, some have yet to prove themselves and I say yet."
Ferguson expanded on the reasons why he perceives Kleberson and Djemba-Djemba failed to sparkle during their debut season at Old Trafford.
The strong-willed Scot also admitted that he will rely on the youthful core of his team to wrestle the Premiership title back from Arsenal.
He continued: "Kleberson got married, had a baby and was injured for eight months.
"It's unfair to judge him. What I do know is that this lad won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and he has a marvellous technique.
"Djemba-Djemba's mother was in a coma and we had to take her from Cameroon to France.
"He had to join the national team for qualification matches for the Olympic Games and then the African Nations Cup. We hardly saw him for four months but he's only 23 and he will continue to progress.
"We have eight players under 25 who, in the next three or four years, will form the heart and backbone of a good Manchester United team.
"With these players we can get back on track and that starts next season."
Meanwhile, Ferguson is reportedly trying to coax Carlos Queiroz back to Old Trafford following the Portuguese tactician's sacking by Real Madrid.
Queiroz was Ferguson's assistant at United during the 2002/03 campaign and a renewal of the partnership is rumoured to be on the agenda.