Manchester United refuse to break wage structure

Manchester United have no intention of shattering their wage structure to reinforce Sir Alex Ferguson's squad this summer.

Ferguson has continually stated that he sees no value in the transfer market, hence his reluctance to spend the majority of the world record £80million received for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid last summer.

The stance has raised quizzical looks from those who recall United splashing out £30.75million on Dimitar Berbatov, £29.1million on Rio Ferdinand and £28.1million on Juan Sebastian Veron.

However, it has now become apparent it is not transfer fees that Ferguson is speaking about when he talks of Real Madrid and Manchester City inflating the market but wages.

It is understood that having agreed a fee with Lyon for Karim Benzema last summer, Ferguson balked at the deal when the France striker demanded a staggering weekly wage approaching £200,000 a week, way in excess of anyone else on the Old Trafford payroll and significantly more than Wayne Rooney will get, even after he agrees his new contract after the World Cup.

Those are the kind of sums being offered by Real and City - who are said to have suggested they would pay Kaka even more in their unsuccessful attempt to lure the Brazilian superstar to Eastlands in January last year - and that United will refuse to match as they try to strengthen following the failure to retain the Barclays Premier League title.

And they are the kind of figures the Red Knights group will quickly have to get their heads around if they are successful in wrestling control of United away from the Glazer family.

Although sources close to the Glazer camp insist United's controversial American owners have no interest in doing a deal, the Red Knights are confident they can get them to the negotiating table, although they will not over pay.

"The Red Knights are continuing to seek to assemble a consortium to acquire Manchester United," said a statement released on behalf of the group.

"Our primary goals remain to facilitate a return of ownership of the club to its supporters and the community; and to restore the financial health of the club.

"The response continues to be encouraging but the process to achieve it is understandably complex and is taking time.

"We have had productive conversations with potential investors in recent weeks which have reinforced our belief that it is wrong to offer above fair value, particularly given the urgent need for the club to reduce debt; and that fair value is likely to be reducing over time given the headwinds facing the game of football.

"Accordingly we will continue to build support in a measured way and will give a further update in due course."