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Ferguson less optimistic over Berbatov

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Aug 2008

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed on Friday that he was “less optimistic” of bringing any new faces into the club before the transfer deadline at the end of the month.

Ferguson has been pursuing Tottenham’s Bulgarian international striker Dimitar Berbatov this summer yet he is not holding his breath about signing the 27-year-old before the transfer shutters come down.

Asked whether he was any more optimistic than he was two weeks ago about completing any signings, Ferguson replied: “I’m feeling less optimistic right now.

“We are looking at something, but if it doesn’t come off then we will carry on as we are.”

United, the reigning Premier League champions, have been hit by a string of injuries at the start of their title defence. They are missing several key players including Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 42 times last season, Owen Hargreaves and Ryan Giggs.

Ronaldo has resumed light jogging and gym work since undergoing ankle surgery while Hargreaves and Giggs are expected to return from their respective knee and hamstring injuries soon.

But the spate of injuries has prompted Ferguson to move to strengthen his squad and failure to bring in any new faces before the deadline will be viewed as a setback.

United have a free weekend to prepare for Monday’s game at Portsmouth as they look to bounce back from an unspectacular 1-1 opening day draw with Newcastle.

Ferguson insists England manager Fabio Capello’s decision to overlook Rio Ferdinand for the captaincy of the national side will not impact on the United defender.

Capello opted to hand the role to Chelsea’s John Terry, but Ferguson believes Ferdinand will not let the disappointment hit his performances.

“It was always going to be a close call,” said Ferguson. “But I’m sure it will not affect him.

“He’s proved himself as a centre-back and it was purely a choice the England manager had to make.”

Ferguson revealed that Mikael Silvestre was half way through a medical at neighbours Manchester City when he received a call from Arsenal.

The 31-year-old French defender joined Arsenal from United this week after nine years of service at Old Trafford.

Silvestre had talks with City but had second thoughts when Arsene Wenger made it clear he wanted him at Arsenal.

“Manchester City came on the scene and he was half way through a medical with them when he got a phone call and went to Arsenal,” said Ferguson.

“We recognise the service he has given us and we wish him well.”

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