Kenyon trusts United's 'smart team'

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The Independent Football

The new Manchester United chief executive, Peter Kenyon, has echoed the views of the club captain, Roy Keane, in admitting that the Premiership champions are not in a position to compete with Europe's élite in the transfer market.

The new Manchester United chief executive, Peter Kenyon, has echoed the views of the club captain, Roy Keane, in admitting that the Premiership champions are not in a position to compete with Europe's élite in the transfer market.

However, the 46-year-old Kenyon, who recently took over from Martin Edwards at the Old Trafford helm, insists that does not mean United will be consigned to also-ran status in the Champions' League. Lazio have spent £71m this summer, while Real Madrid have invested £37m on Luis Figo alone, and Kenyon admitted: "We are not going to compete with the private pockets of some of the European club owners.

"What we are not going to compete with is the magnanimous benefactor of a Berlusconi or an Agnelli in Italy or a guy who is running for presidency in one of the Spanish clubs and dipping into his personal fortune - that is not what we are about.

"We have to think smarter, how we are going to create that money in order to reinvest in our youth policy, the stadium and players themselves. I know people say that you should speculate to accumulate but it doesn't work that way. Buying 11 players doesn't guarantee you success. That's not the issue. It is not about buying the best all the time. You can't just keep going on and adding players. Sir Alex and his team are smarter than that."

Kenyon is also convinced that United's off-the-field activities will help to keep them in the race for honours, both at home and abroad, for years to come. "Building the business value is critical because ultimately that is what helps us reinvest," he said. "We are recognised as the No 1 club in the world, but 99 per cent of our revenue comes from the UK. Football is a global game now and we must take advantage of our world-wide brand name. We have a huge international opportunity ahead of us over the next five years."

In their first game of the season United play Newcastle, whose captain Alan Shearer said yesterday he will be fit in time after undergoing a scan on a troublesome knee injury. The 29-year-old has missed the club's last two friendlies with a recurrence of the tendinitis he suffered on international duty during Euro 2000 earlier this summer, but a scan on Wednesday revealed the problem is no worse than it was then.

Now Shearer is desperate to get back into action to prove his fitness in time for the trip to Old Trafford a fortnight on Sunday. "The scan has shown that the knee is no worse than when I was scanned by England during the European Championships," he said. "I'll give it a blast in training to see if I can play part of the game against Feyenoord. If not then I'll be back in training on Monday. I'm not that short of match fitness because I didn't stop playing until 20 June with England.

"All I need to be ready for Manchester United is one full game or a game and a half. Pre-season matches don't matter apart from getting players ready for the important stuff."

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