Fergie rules out panic buys to heal midfield

Simon Stone

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is refusing to abandon his long-term approach to transfers despite the loss of Anderson until February with a knee injury.

The former Porto midfielder has joined Tom Cleverley on the sidelines for an extended period, leaving United short of numbers in the crucial central area.

However, before the clamour for new faces could begin, the United boss moved to quash any suggestion he could be panicked into the transfer market when it opens in January.

"We don't have a scatter-gun approach," he said.

"It is dead easy to say you are going to buy a player but it is not easy to buy players for Manchester United, particularly in January.

"I don't see anyone who could make us a better team from the ones who are available. I could choose two or three players who I would like to have at this club but they are not available."

Anderson has returned to Portugal amid fears of another major knee injury, putting more pressure on a midfield many fans feel is already short on quality.

In the wake of Paul Scholes' retirement last summer, Ferguson did make extensive efforts to bring in new faces.

At various stages, Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and more latterly Wesley Sneijder were all linked with an Old Trafford move during the summer.

Yet none arrived. And even now, it seems Ferguson would be more willing to utilise the abilities of Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney in midfield positions than splash out on players he feels are below the standard he requires.

There have been occasions in the past, notably with Henrik Larsson in 2007, when Ferguson has made a short-term signing purely to strengthen one particular area of his team.

But the United boss certainly made it plain he was not willing to abandon the long-term approach to transfers no matter what short-term issues he may have to contend with.

"It is an ongoing process. Sometimes it takes two years to find someone," he said.