Transfer Failings Lead Man United to £58m Strike Duo Chase

Sir Alex Ferguson’s summer spending plans were blown wide open this week when Real Madrid continued their astonishing close-season spree with the £29.7million capture of top target Karim Benzema – 24 hours before another Manchester United target, Franck Ribery, revealed he is only prepared to leave Bayern Munich for Spain’s capital club.

Soccer: Training - Manchester United May 20

Sir Alex Ferguson: Making calls for reenforcements

Ferguson had made France international Benzema his principal target after losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, both against his wishes, but the 21-year-old, who was presented with a United shirt by the Old Trafford boss after he had scored against the Premier League champions in the Champions League in February 2008, was only prepared to move to the Bernabeu.

“The player wished to seize the opportunity that was offered to him by Real, which was to be one of the major elements of the club’s new, ambitious policy built around some of the largest players in the world,” a statement released by Lyon read.

The highly-rated striker joins Ronaldo and Kaka in a new-look Real strikeforce – and could be joined by countryman Ribery.

“I have decided that I want to leave. It will be Real Madrid or nothing,” said the 26-year-old. “I would like to hold talks with the Bayern management soon.”

An influx of marquee signings could, ironically, spell the end for current Real striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who could be deemed surplus to requirement. The young Dutchman has struggled to deliver on his early career promise and may welcome a switch to England.

Ferguson may also decide to test Atletico Madrid’s willingness to keep hold of Sergio Aguero, although his agent, Jose Segui, insists he has yet to be approached.

“I have no information about this offer from Manchester United,” Segui told “I have not been contacted by anyone, nor by other teams.”

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