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Fergie done with offseason signings

MANAGER Alex Ferguson said yesterday that Manchester United won't be signing any more players this offseason because of inflated transfer fees.

Preparing for his 24th season in charge at Old Trafford, Ferguson said the Premier League champion will continue to operate "sensibly" and not try to match the spending levels of Real Madrid or crosstown rival Manchester City.

The Red Devils sold world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid for a world record 80 million pounds (US$131 million), raising the bar in the transfer market.

But Ferguson said he isn't prepared to spend that windfall, preferring instead to sign striker Michael Owen on a free transfer and wingers Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan.

"I feel we have a good squad, which meant there was no need for knee-jerk reactions," Ferguson said.

United has also lost Carlos Tevez, who Ferguson said wouldn't respond to his text messages asking him to sign a permanent deal and remain at Old Trafford.

He is widely tipped to join derby rivals Manchester City.

"I think that's concluded our business - we are in the middle of a difficult summer in football where it's been difficult to get good value," Ferguson said. "I think I've got good value ... it tells you we are sensible."

Before signing the injury-prone Owen, whose contract with Newcastle had expired, Ferguson had wanted France striker Karim Benzema, but pulled out of a move when big-spending Madrid paid 35 million euros (US$57.4 million) for the Lyon player.

"There are amazing numbers that are being talked about," Ferguson said. "The values of players have just shot sky high. I don't think in any of the transfers that you look at you would say it's realistic, but for some reason it seems to have caught fire this summer and it's an unusual summer."

Owen, the surprise signing of the offseason, will wear the No. 7 shirt vacated by Cristiano Ronaldo and once worn by George Best and David Beckham.


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