x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Fletcher injury will not force his hand on transfers, says Ferguson

Ruling out a transfer-window spree, the Manchester United manager might look at in-house options such as Paul Pogba, the French midfielder.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, ruled out a January transfer-window spree despite a mounting injury crisis at his club, who were drawn against the Dutch heavyweights Ajax yesterday in the Europa League.

The midfielder Darren Fletcher this week became the latest player to join United's casualty list, which already includes the captain Nemanja Vidic, who will miss the rest of the season, and the striker Javier Hernandez.

Asked if he expected United to sign any new players next month, Ferguson said: "Not necessarily. I don't know why people keep going on about it. [I won't buy] unless someone we have always been interested in appears, but there isn't.

"Darren's obviously such a great professional, it's not easy to replace that, but we will think about it."

Ferguson's "thinking about it" is a reference to his existing in-house options, including the 18-year-old French midfielder, Paul Pogba, who is being linked with a move to Inter Milan at the end of the season.

"He's a big, strong lad and he's improving, developing well," said Ferguson. "Since he came to the club, I've seen the progress he has made, and he has had experience of the first team this year."

Both Manchester clubs were handed tricky ties, with City facing perhaps the toughest draw possible: holders Porto. "It's amazing. We've gone through the hardest group in the Champions League and now got the holders of the Europa League," said Brian Marwood, City's football administrator.