Gill insists Reds have resources to give City rivals a run for their money

Paul Hirst

DAVID Gill is confident Manchester United will be able to challenge their big-spending noisy neighbours in the transfer market this summer.

However, the United chief executive admits his club could quite easily be "out-muscled" by Manchester City when going for certain targets and concedes they may have to resort to charm to persuade some players to snub the millions on offer at the Etihad Stadium.

Last Sunday, Roberto Mancini guided City to their first league title since 1968, after a dramatic injury-time winner from Sergio Aguero pushed United into second on goal difference.

United boss Alex Ferguson is determined to stop City dominating the Premier League and will look to strengthen his squad this summer, with Lille midfielder Eden Hazard thought to be high on his shortlist.

City have also targeted the Belgium international but Gill insists there is still good reason for players to spurn City's megabucks.

"We believe we can compete," Gill said.

"Our turnover and our cash profits demonstrate we can invest in players as necessary. Other clubs may pay slightly more but we pay very good salaries.

"The romance of United is there for everyone to see.

"A player coming to Manchester United has the benefit of working under Alex Ferguson, playing in front of 76,000 every week, and there is our history and heritage and the commercial spin-offs.

"We shouldn't be shy or embarrassed or worried about not being able to attract top players because I firmly believe we can.

"You can play with great players in a fantastic environment. That's a very good package, so why wouldn't you choose that?"

Last summer Ferguson thought he had pulled off a transfer coup by persuading Samir Nasri to move to Old Trafford after the France midfielder decided to leave Arsenal.

But the 24-year-old opted instead to join City in a deal that reportedly saw his wage soar to £175,000 a week.

Gill admits United may lose out on some signings this summer if a player's wage is a major factor.

"If a player says, 'I'm relaxed, I can either go to City, United or Chelsea and it will just come down to a money thing,' then they may out-muscle us," Gill said.

Gill was speaking at a ceremony in London where Ferguson was honoured as the greatest manager in the 20-year history of the Premier League.

The Scot has seen off the challenges of many a side during his 26 years at Old Trafford and Gill thinks United can deal with their latest setback.

"When you go back to when Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, and they won the title in '05 and '06, and everyone said: 'This is it, Abramovich and Chelsea are going to be there for 10 years,' and (now) it's nothing like that," Gill said.

"We'd all recognise we underachieved in Europe this year given what we'd achieved the previous years but from a league perspective we're happy with what we've done."

Carlos Tevez, who spent two seasons at Old Trafford, rubbed salt into United's wounds when he was pictured holding an "RIP Fergie" sign during City's celebrations.

Gill refused to enter into a war of words over the incident, merely saying: "We move on. It was a bit strange but City apologised."