'No more transfers to United', says Ferguson

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson handed Michael Owen the prized Manchester United number seven shirt and then declared Old Trafford closed for transfer business.

It was anticipated Ferguson would make further signings in addition to Owen, Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan, who joined last week from Bordeaux.

But, faced with a market over-inflated by Real Madrid and Manchester City, Ferguson has decided his current squad is good enough to challenge for an unprecedented fourth consecutive league title, even though Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez have left.

"It is the end of our business, so all these stories about who were are supposed to be getting - forget it," he said.

It means Owen will take over Ronaldo's shirt and his place in an attacking line-up containing Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, plus youngsters Daniel Welbeck and Federico Macheda, who will both be given a chance to prove they are worthy of the accolades that have been bestowed on them.

"They are both young players," he added, "but young players with ability always get a chance here."

Ferguson confirmed he made a bid for Karim Benzema, only to be rebuffed by the Lyon man, who instead became part of Real Madrid's extraordinary spending spree.

With a world record £80million burning a hole in his pocket following the sale of Ronaldo, United had the funds to compete.

But Ferguson refuses to be drawn into a bidding war for any player beyond the level he thinks is acceptable.

"There are some amazing numbers being talked about, not all of them realistic," he said. "It is very difficult to get value now. In a way we benefited through the sale of Cristiano, although that figure was non-negotiable.

"But I feel we have a good squad, which meant there was no need for knee-jerk reactions. We asked about Benzema and we had a value for him. Lyon have done well because they got €42million but I think we took a sensible view."

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