We will not pay excessive fees, says Ferguson

Manchester United's manager says he will not be taken for a mug
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The Independent Football

The signing of Michael Carrick from Tottenham Hotspur for a transfer fee that could rise to £18.6 million does not mean that Manchester United will be held to ransom for excessive fees for any more players they may want to sign.

Sir Alex Ferguson has since signed the goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak from West Bromwich Albion and is still interested in signing at least one more midfield player, possibly either Villarreal's Marcos Senna or Bayern Munich's England international Owen Hargreaves.

But Ferguson refuses to be drawn into spending the "cavalier" amounts of money Chelsea have been splashing out, saying that it is now time for United to take a stand against clubs trying to milk them on transfers.

"I know this summer has been frustrating but there comes a point when you realise you can only take so much," Ferguson told United Review. "This close season has driven the point home even more that people are looking at Manchester United like a milch cow.

"Perhaps it is the cavalier amounts of money Chelsea have been spending which has upped the ante because the asking prices these days have soared to ridiculously high levels.

"It is as if the thinking is that if Chelsea can afford such and such, then we can expect Manchester United to pay through the nose as well. But it has got to the point where you can only take so much and I want to make it clear that we are not going to be taken for mugs."

Ferguson's critics claim that he paid over the odds for Carrick, and would need to spend prodigious amounts for a striker to replace Ruud van Nistelrooy. United were linked with Fernando Torres but Atletico Madrid stuck to an asking price in excess of £40m for the Spanish international. Ferguson valued the striker at £25m.

United's neighbours City have also signed a goalkeeper in Andreas Isaksson. The Swede has joined the Eastlands club on a three-year contract, SVT, Swedish public television, reported yesterday.

"I grew up with the Premier League. It feels good," said Isaksson, who moves from the French club Stade Rennes, the club from which Chelsea signed Petr Cech. Manchester City are reported to be paying about £2m for the 24-year-old World Cup goalkeeper.