Fergie unlikely to buy in January

Ferguson has confirmed that Anderson has been sent back to Portugal

amid fears of another major knee injury. The Brazilian has already

battled back from cruciate ligament surgery, but has now been ruled

out until at least February and is being assessed by his specialist

to assess the precise nature of his latest injury. With Tom

Cleverley also missing due to an ankle injury that Ferguson expects

to sideline him until Christmas, it puts more pressure on a

midfield many fans feel is already short on quality. In the wake of

Paul Scholes’ retirement last summer, Ferguson did make extensive

efforts to bring in new faces. Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and Wesley

Sneijder were all linked with Old Trafford moves that never

materialised, and even now Ferguson seems more willing to utilise

Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney in midfield rather than splash out on

players he feels are below the standard he requires. “It is dead

easy to say you are going to buy a player but it is not easy to buy

players for Manchester United, particularly in January,” Ferguson

said. “We don’t have a scattergun approach to signing anyone

because we think it may work. We want to think it will work. There

is a distinction. “I don’t see anyone who could make us a better

team from the ones who are possibly available. “I could choose two

or three players who I would like to have at this club but they are

not available. There would be no point even going there.” There

have been occasions in the past, notably with Henrik Larsson in

2007, when Ferguson has made a short-term signing to strengthen one

area of his team. In this particular instance the only person who

would fit that bill is Scholes himself, although there has never

been any suggestion the 36-year-old could be talked out of

retirement even if Ferguson felt it was a viable option. The United

boss certainly made it plain he was not willing to abandon the

club’s long-term approach to transfers, no matter what short-term

issues arise. “We have a great scouting department,” he said. “They

have proved it over the years. That is where we are in the sense of

identifying and assessing footballers. “It is an ongoing process.

Sometimes it takes two years to find someone.” Ferguson is unlikely

to openly admit any concerns about his personnel, while Michael

Carrick in particular has performed well in the last two games and

was arguably United’s best player in the midweek draw with Benfica.

However, Ferguson does concede the return of Cleverley would be

pretty handy at the end of a typically arduous December period. “We

are not as bad as people think,” he added. “Ryan Giggs gives you

experience. Michael Carrick had a bit of a problem with his

Achilles in the early season but he is over that now and his form

in the last two games has been outstanding. “Darren Fletcher, given

the right preparation, is always a very good player for us. But

getting Cleverley back at Christmas time would be a bonus because

he is such a clever footballer.” The return of Rooney from a hip

problem and skipper Nemanja Vidic’s availability after suspension

offers Ferguson the additional options he needs for Saturday’s

encounter with Newcastle. Although they have a woeful record at Old

Trafford, where they have not won for 39 years, Newcastle will be

dangerous opponents. They caused Manchester City quite a few

problems last weekend before eventually surrendering their unbeaten

record and, in Alan Pardew, have a manager Ferguson rates extremely

highly. “Everyone has been taken by Newcastle’s start to the season

and the credit must go to Alan Pardew,” Ferguson added. “When he

was at Reading we gave him Luke Chadwick on loan. He was

first-class in terms of the information he was giving us. He is

very meticulous. “He has grasped the nettle at Newcastle very well

and they are all working like Trojans up there.”