Manchester United agree new deals for top trio
MANCHESTER, England, April 18 (Reuters) - Manchester United defenders Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown and midfielder Michael Carrick have agreed new contracts at Old Trafford, manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday.
The club have not disclosed details but Ferdinand, 29, is believed to have agreed terms on a five-year deal, while Brown, 28, and Carrick, 26 are also to sign long-term deals.
'It continues a policy of lengthening contracts at the right times and keeps a continuity of the first-team squad which we try and work hard at. It's not easy in today's world but we do our best,' Ferguson said.
Brown had looked likely to leave Old Trafford on a free transfer in the close-season after previously rejecting a contract extension.
But the Manchester-born England international has now come to an agreement to stay with the club where he has spent all of his career and where he has been a regular choice at right-back this season in the absence of injured club captain Gary Neville.
'I don't think there's any club for Wes Brown other than Manchester United,' Ferguson added. 'He's a Manchester United player and that's the way I felt about it, so I was always quietly confident.'
Carrick has enjoyed an outstanding season in helping United reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and put themselves in a dominant position to win a second league title in two years since the England international joined the club from Tottenham.
'Everything has fallen into place for me and it's nice that the club rewards you for the way things are going,' Carrick told reporters.
'It is the only club for me in terms of the way we play our football, the size of the club, the players we have here and the whole set-up.'
United's strength in depth has played a big part in their pursuit of the double and with Carrick, Ferdinand and Brown committing themselves to the club and further new signings and a possible new deal for winger Cristiano Ronaldo expected, that policy looks likely to continue.
'We have a strong squad. Whether we stock up in the summer is a possibility of course - a good possibility,' added Ferguson.
'But there's no question that having that strong squad has definitely aided us this season in particular and therefore it's good business by the club.'
United will close in on another league title if they win at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to increase their lead over Chelsea to five points with just three games to go.
'If we win this game it definitely puts us in a marvellous position. It's got a significance for us tomorrow and hopefully we can do it,' said Ferguson.
Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic will return to the United side after missing three games with a knee injury and Portuguese winger Nani also returns to the squad. French striker Louis Saha faces a further spell on the sidelines after injuring a hamstring in training.