ALEX FERGUSON last night castigated Manchester City's decision to "spend a fortune, pay stupid money, pay silly salaries," as Roberto Mancini, manager of the newly crowned Premier League Champions urged his board to avoid a repeat of the tortuous pursuit of players last summer and move rapidly into the transfer market.
Ferguson, unmoved by City's title, said he would stick by his principles of investing in young players, declaring: "We're not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods. We invest in players who will be with the club for a long time; who will create the character of the club; who will create excitement for our fans. We are very proud of that and we are going to continue that way. We're good at it. If you are good at it then stick with it."
He also confirmed that Paul Scholes would be at United next year, suggesting that next season may be the last for both Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
His chief executive, David Gill, said there could be some "interesting developments" in the next few months, and Lille's £30million-rated Eden Hazard provided an intriguing hint last night that he may decide on one or other of the two clubs in the next few days. After receiving France's Player of the Year award for the second successive season, he said: "To Manchester. I can reveal that a decision will be made on my destiny within days."
"We are always talking about evolving a new team because I've been here for 25 years and I have to maintain a certain standard that keeps us there all the time," Ferguson said of his future plans.
For at least one year of that United future Paul Scholes will remain in a red shirt at Manchester United although Fergie doesn't envisage him staying beyond that time-frame.
The Red Devils chief confirmed last night that Scholes had agreed a new one-year contract with the Old Trafford outfit.
It cements a comeback started in January when the 37-year-old abandoned the retirement he had announced 12 months ago.
However, while Ferguson does not believe it is automatic Scholes will end his career next summer, he does feel the midfielder will only go on for one more year.
"I think this will be Paul's last season," Ferguson said.
"We know him very well. We have had him since he was a kid and we know how to use him.
"But it has been done. He is staying and I am delighted."
Scholes has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Euro 2012 squad England manager Roy Hodgson will unveil tomorrow.
The introduction of Gary Neville onto Hodgson's coaching team may make that transition process smoother, although, for now, Ferguson's only concern is what Scholes can do for United.
"He knew he had made a mistake," said the Scot over Scholes' initial decision to retire.
"He now realises if he plays 25 or 30 games next season, they will be of real quality."