Sir Alex ponders options
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded he is still mulling over the striking situation.
Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded he is still mulling over the striking situation at Manchester United after allowing Ruud van Nistelrooy to join Real Madrid.
Last season's top scorer will be sorely missed at Old Trafford, even though Ferguson is quick to point out that he has enough cover within the squad to compensate for the loss of a forward who guarantees goals.
"Well, we have one or two decisions to make about that," Ferguson told Sky Sports News. "For instance, [Giuseppe] Rossi.
"It's more likely he'll stay now. Ruud van Nistelrooy has left but we've got Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] coming back and he's progressing quite well. The more games he gets now, it's going to be good for him.
"We've got some alternatives in terms of attacking roles - Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha. And, of course, we are not saying he'll be back immediately, but Alan Smith is doing fantastic in training.
"It's a real surprise to us how he's come on. He's not far away from taking part in a real game now. I think, in three weeks' time, he'll be back into the lion's den again as a centre forward. He's got real guts and determination and is a handful to play against. It's a different option for us too so, after that, you say well, look around and there's not too many centre forwards you would really go for, for what we need."
Ferguson rejected suggestions that some supporters have been less than thrilled with the transfer activity during the close season.
"Have you got witness to that? It's just your opinion," countered the Scot. "I'm happy with the squad I've got. I must say they're a good bunch of players.
"What we need to do is make sure we don't get injuries in the early part of the season. Touch wood, that's not the case because, the last two years, it's blighted our chances. If that's the case, we'll have a great chance this year."
Chief executive David Gill confirmed there is still money available in the transfer kitty, although another midfielder is believed to be Ferguson's chief priority.
"We don't discuss our budgets but, as Alex has mentioned, we do have funds there if we want to bring in one or two more players," said Gill. "And we're looking at that situation at the moment.
"We've always had a short, medium and long term view of what is needed to compete in the transfer market and that's the situation. Obviously, the Jon Obi Mikel money we hadn't budgeted in, but we managed to get that in and it will be reinvested back into the team as is necessary."