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Man United Boss Points Finger at Nuisance Neighbours

Sir Alex Ferguson says he will not be dragged into “stupid” bidding wars in response to selling clubs putting inflated prices on players because of the financial muscle of local rivals Manchester City and Spain’s capital club Real Madrid.

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Mark Hughes: Has a lot to answer for

The Scot made his declaration on the same day that former United striker and current City
manager, Mark Hughes, continued his expensive summer overhaul by wrapping up the signature of another former Old Trafford favourite, Carlos Tevez.

Spanish football giants Real, in their desperate attempt to overthrow bitter rivals Barcelona, have spent in the region of £180m, including United target Karim Benzema, who eventually moved to the Bernabéu from Lyon for around £35m.

United, by contrast, have spent only a fraction of the £80m received from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real, buying Antonio Valencia from Wigan for around £17m and Gabriel Obertan from Bordeaux for £3m.

Ferguson revealed he did try for Lyon forward Benzema but was not prepared to meet an unrealistic asking price. Instead, he opted for Michael Owen on a free transfer because of the “sky high” fees demanded by selling clubs.

“I said a year ago, when they [the Abu Dhabi United Group] took over at City, that this was possible,” Ferguson said. “Some of the values across the world now are amazing; the numbers that get tossed about. The values of players have shot sky high. I don’t think any of the [big] transfers this summer are realistic but for some reason it has caught fire this summer. It’s an unusual summer and it’s very difficult to get value because of that.”

Nick Walsh writes features and football betting previews for Betfair.

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