While showing off Manchester United's two new signings, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday revealed that he is likely to venture into the transfer market again before the start of the new season.
Kawaga has signed a four-year deal to move from Borussia Dortmund while Powell has joined United from Crewe Alexandra. Ferguson also confirmed that the club are willing to be patient with the midfielder Darren Fletcher, who has not yet returned to training following illness.
"We could possibly bring one or two more in," Ferguson said, refusing to be drawn on speculation linking the club to specific players. "When there's a major international tournament on, there's a delay in the transfer market. But now the Euros are over we're trying to bring someone in."
United are confident of landing one of their two targets. "We've always done well in terms of getting players at the end of the season, instead of waiting all summer," Ferguson said. "In Kagawa's case, there was a fair bit of negotiating and that kept going for weeks. As for Powell, we knew Dario Gradi [Crewe Alexandra's director of football] would help us do the deal quickly."
Surprisingly, Ferguson sees Powell as a central midfielder, though the 18-year-old scored nine goals as a striker in the last three months of Crewe's League Two promotion campaign. The United manager said: "Dario said he thought that [central midfield] was his position. So we're all in accord as far as that's concerned and that's where we'll hope to progress him.
"Football always throws up an opportunity for any one person. If they progress and they're good enough I don't have an issue with that. We play young players all the time."
Ferguson regrets Paul Pogba's decision to leave Old Trafford for Juventus earlier this month, saying that it is better to invest in home-grown talent, implying they are more likely to stay loyal. "We're disappointed in Pogba, there's no question about that," he said. "I think he showed a lack of respect to the club. He made his decision and although we always felt that was going to be the case he never really indicated until he left."
Powell has a similar physique to Fletcher, who has not played since a Champions League game against Benfica last November, due to a chronic bowel problem, and is still unable to train. Ferguson was sympathetic to the Scot's situation.
"Obviously he's got challenges," he said. "We're happy to be patient with him but he won't be starting the season. It's unfortunate because he's such a magnificent professional and a nice lad, but if it doesn't work out for him he knows he's got a position at the club anyway."
Positively for United, another long-term absentee, Brazilian midfielder Anderson, is ready to start the season after shaking off injury problems that have limited him to just three appearances this year.
"This season it's very important that I don't have any more injuries," Anderson said. "I need to prove what I can do. I know the boss and my team-mates believe in me, I've just had bad luck."