Sir Alex Ferguson has warned transfer buffs that the January 2012 window will be a quiet one for top-level clubs. He told Manutd.com that he might loan some of his young players to other clubs, but that will likely be the extent of his dealings.
"The reason there may not be many big signings in January is because the players clubs want are not available," the Manchester United manager said. "To be honest with you, who would want to sell their best player in January?
"I don't see it [big-name transfers] happening. There are cases of players whose contracts are running out in the summer but they won't get the same money anyway. It'll be well reduced."
Ferguson faces a similar dilemma many managers of top teams face. Most teams with players good enough to play for the Red Devils or their rivals are themselves competing for honors or places in next season's European competitions. Selling their key men in the middle of the season would not help their causes. Also, many of those players are also tied to their teams for cup and European competitions, leaving their first-team opportunities limited to league action.
It is unlikely that Ferguson will dip into the top (read: expensive) end of the transfer market to bolster his injury-hit squad. His transfer activity may consist of nothing but loaning young United players to other clubs in order for them to gain match experience.
"I'd like to get one or two on loan, particularly the young strikers but, at the moment, we don't need to do anything and don't need to make a decision," he said.
Although 20-year-old striker Federico Macheda joined Queens Park Rangers for the remainder of the season on Monday, it looks like Manchester United will take a slow and cautious approach this January.