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Striker search concerns Ferguson

Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov has been heavily linked with a move to United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says time is running out to sign a striker before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.

United have been linked with a host of strikers in recent weeks, notably Tottenham forward Dimitar Berbatov.

"I am less optimistic than I was," said Ferguson, who had vowed to sign a striker for the start of the season.

"We have 11 days left before the transfer deadline and we are working at something, you never know in football."

The Premier League and European champions have also been linked with David Silva, Thierry Henry, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Roque Santa Cruz, who signed a new four-year contract with Blackburn on Friday.

Berbatov himself has spoken in recent weeks of his desire to join United, but has not been granted what he has described as his "dream" transfer.


United do have Fraizer Campbell and Danny Wellbeck who are young and inexperienced, while Louis Saha has been bedevilled by a succession of injuries.

Cristiano Ronaldo is recovering from ankle surgery leaving only Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez as viable options for Ferguson up front.

Rooney has often come under criticism for his all action displays and has been urged to spend less time defending and become more selfish.

"Wayne does too much around the pitch at the expense of what he does up front," said Ferguson.

"It is a waste of his energy to chase back to our own penalty area for instance.

"But it is not something to worry about too much. It is purely down to enthusiasm and natural energy. He just loves playing football."

"He needs to be more involved around the edge of the box - but it is only a small correction."

Meanwhile Ferguson has said that despite not being able to secure the services of a new striker he will not be tempted to rush back Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals for United last season.

Cristiano may get back quicker. But we are not putting him under any pressure

Sir Alex Ferguson

United visibly lacked Ronaldo's cutting edge in front of gaol during their 1-1 draw with Newcastle at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"If a player is out for a certain period there is no point rushing it," said Ferguson. "You may as well wait the extra week or two to make sure they don't suffer any setbacks.

"Sometimes the age of a player helps with their recovery.

"Cristiano may get back quicker. But we are not putting him under any pressure.

"We have to let the physios do their job properly."

see also
Berbatov angles for 'dream' move
18 Aug 08 |  Tottenham
Silva opts to stay with Valencia
13 Aug 08 |  Man Utd
Santa Cruz signs new Rovers deal
22 Aug 08 |  Blackburn

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