GILL: WE CAN COMPETE FOR PLAYERS
Manchester United chief executive David Gill insists the club have the cash to compete in the transfer market despite Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that Manchester City "pay stupid money and silly salaries".
United are aiming to strengthen this summer, with Borussia Dortmund duo Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski believed to be on his radar.
However, it is anticipated Lille's Edin Hazard will join City ahead of United this summer, just as Samir Nasri ended up at the Etihad Stadium 12 months ago when Ferguson thought he had completed a deal to sign the former Arsenal midfielder.
Nevertheless, the Old Trafford outfit are adamant they are not being left behind.
"Funds are available without a doubt," Gill told MUTV.
"We can still pay very well in terms of wages and transfer fees.
"Clearly City have raised the bar. We have seen that with what they are prepared to pay for players and to them.
"But we need to move on. Financial Fair Play is just around the corner.
"It is a flagship programme for Michel Platini and how that is implemented and the sanctions that are imposed are going to be interesting."
Typically, Ferguson's assessment was rather more blunt.
"We know City are going to spend fortunes, pay stupid money and silly salaries. We know that happens. We can't do anything about that," the Scot told MUTV.
"We are not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods. We invest in players who will be with the club for a long time, who will create the character of the club and the excitement for our fans.
"We are good at that and we are going to continue that way."
Ferguson admitted his side suffered at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, initially believing they had won the title with their victory, only to have the glory taken off them.
However, the celebrations of the Sunderland fans clearly left a bitter taste, which he believes will inspire his players to greater glory.
"I am a winner," said Ferguson.
"When we lost the league to Leeds in 1992, the young players - Neville, Scholes, Giggs - came out that day and the Liverpool supporters were asking for their autographs. Then they (the supporters) were tearing the autographs up - I told the players to remember that.
"Yesterday I said those Sunderland fans who were cheering for City, remember the day. We won't forget that. I am telling you."
Ferguson and Gill were both speaking at the United Player of the Year awards, which turned into a personal triumph for Antonio Valencia, who won both the players' and fans' prize, in addition to the Red Devils' goal of the season, his effort at Blackburn last month.
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