Sir Alex Ferguson indicated last night that he does not intend to buy another goalkeeper to replace Ben Foster, whose £6m sale to Birmingham City has been concluded, and that he may add only one more player to his squad this summer.
New Premier League rules stipulating that eight players in the 25-man squad named for each fixture must be home grown next season. But that there can be unlimited under-21s, which has led to Ferguson promoting 20-year-old Ben Amos as the club's third choice keeper next season and making Tomasz Kuszczak the deputy to Edwin van der Sar. The new rules are influencing the way many clubs, including Manchester City and Liverpool, are shaping their squads and help explain why United have signed defender Chris Smalling, 20, from Fulham.
Ferguson, who seems to have ruled out a move for Lyons' Hugo Lloris and Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon, said: "When we decided to let Ben [Foster] go, we were in the process of letting a good young goalkeeper, Ben Amos, go out on loan [to Norwegian club Molde.] He's in the England Under-21 team but we can only accommodate three goalkeepers. So when the situation with Ben's future at Manchester United came into it and we agreed to let him go, we stopped Ben Amos from going on loan. He will now be our third goalkeeper, he's very talented and has a good future ahead of him." All three keepers are likely to travel across the Atlantic with the United squad this summer.
Ferguson suggested at United's awards ceremony two weeks ago that he needed to "freshen up" the squad but sitting beside his chief executive David Gill at a press conference in New York to promote United's four-game North American tour this summer, suggested only one major acquisition. He said: "In the market today it's very, very difficult and the structure of our squad is good in terms of ages, the balance, the numbers and there's a lot of good young players. Sometimes you have to trust in all the development of the last few years and I'm going to stick with that, or most of it.
"There may be one signing and maybe we'd like to get a good player to the club, of course, but I've nothing definite to tell you."