ALEX FERGUSON is confident Manchester United will punch their weight in the transfer market this summer – even if they lack the spending power of Manchester City and Chelsea.
It is promising to be an interesting close to the season, with Chelsea definitely in the market for a new manager and City potentially so if owner Sheikh Mansour believes Roberto Mancini has failed to deliver the improvement he is looking for.
Even if Mancini remains, it would seem more likely than not City will be looking to bolster their squad after failing to keep pace with United. And Chelsea certainly will if, as Ferguson suspects, Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge.
However, the Red Devils chief has already started his work.
England Under-21 wide-man Wilfried Zaha was signed from Crystal Palace in January, then immediately loaned back to the Championship outfit for the remainder of the campaign.
Interest in strikers Robert Lewandowski and Radamel Falcao is long-standing, whilst it is also believed United will be in the hunt for a central midfielder and a left-back, depending upon whether Ferguson has a long-term plan for Fabio, who has spent the campaign with crisis club QPR.
There is no intention to go head-to-head with City or Chelsea on pure finance alone. But Ferguson is confident United can get the players he wants.
"We're competitive in the market – we're not Chelsea or Manchester City in terms of money but we're competitive," Ferguson said.
"We've been doing a bit of work over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we're at. Hopefully the players we bring into the club in the next year or so will be of the quality we need."
Ferguson has tried to bring in young overseas players, still in the very early stages of their development, to avoid having to spend vast sums.
Once Sunday's encounter with top-four contenders Chelsea is out of the way, Ferguson will possibly look to get young Belgian recruit Adnan Januzaj on the bench for the final two games.