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By ESPN Staff

Carrick fee was fair, say Man United

MANCHESTER, England, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said on Wednesday that his club had paid a fair price for England midfielder Michael Carrick.

United have paid Tottenham Hotspur an initial £14million and potentially an additional £4.6million depending on how successful the club are during Carrick's spell at Old Trafford.

The fee makes Carrick the fifth most expensive United signing and Ferguson admitted: 'There is always a premium when Manchester United buy players.

'There is one price for us and one price for others, but there was a level we were prepared to go to and I think we paid two pence more than that.

'The figure is about the price David Gill (chief executive at Manchester United) and I decided to go with at the beginning,' he told reporters.

Ferguson believes 25-year-old Carrick, for whom Spurs paid 2.75 million pounds in August 2004, is now coming into his prime as a player.

'We have paid good money for a maturing player,' he said. 'At 25 a young player realises he has a bit of authority in the team.

'Michael has plenty of years of experience in the Premiership and he has had good coaching at Tottenham and has now played in the World Cup.'

Ferguson also confirmed he was interested in signing France midfielder Patrick Vieira before he moved to Inter Milan on Wednesday.

'Patrick was something we considered, but I believe he has accepted a really good deal from Inter Milan,' he said.

Carrick has been handed Roy Keane's number 16 shirt at the club, although Ferguson said he was not a replacement for the Irish midfielder.

'People are saying he is a replacement for Roy, but you can't get another Roy Keane,' Ferguson added. 'We have been trying for five years.

Carrick said he did not expect the pressure of trying to fill Keane's role in the heart of United's midfield to affect him.

'I know people will talk about pressure, but that will be nothing like the pressure I put on myself to play well,' Carrick said.

'I came to United to win things and play in the Champions League because I want to test myself against the best players in the world.'