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Jul 23, 2009

Glazers: "Mercenaries" not welcome at Old Trafford

Manchester United won't pay over the odds for "mercenaries" who are not willing to give their all for the cause, according to the club's owners.

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson having £60m at his disposal from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, and despite rivals Manchester City outspending the Champions by four to one, the Glazers say they are content to leave the huge transfer kitty unspent.

"The manager has a significant amount of money to invest if he wants to," said Tehsin Nayani, the spokesman for the Glazer family, who took control at Manchester United in 2005.

"The delay has been because the manager has not been able to locate the players he believes fit the Manchester United mindset - players who are motivated to play for United. You don't want mercenaries and you don't want to pay over the odds for players not willing to give their all for the club."

Ferguson declared United's transfer business closed after the £17m capture of Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic, along with striker Michael Owen and the young forwards Gabriel Obertan and Mame Biram Diouf.

United's City rivals have already spent £79m for Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Gareth Barry, and while the Glazers say the £60m burning a hole in the club's pocket is available to spend, they won't do it recklessly.

Nayani maintains the money won't go towards reducing the club's debt, which remains at an estimated £666m, despite an expected reduction in corporate spending in the current financial climate.

"Manchester United are so far unaffected by the downturn," he said. "It would be foolish to say there would be no impact because you never know what is going to happen down the line but our season-ticket sales stand up well, in comparison to previous years.

"I have been saying that one should expect a downturn in our corporate sales but every club is faced with that. We do have a debt to service and that debt is significant but our interest payments are £43.3m a year while our operating profit was £80m topped off by an extra £25m from transfer sales.

"We are talking about a net amount of £60m and that is cash that can be reinvested in the squad - or if you prefer doing up the toilets or new carpets.

"The point is, there is money coming into Manchester United and one thing is certain that because of globalisation and the growing middle classes in India and the Far East, the appeal of football is set to grow and we are part of that story."

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