Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has handed Michael Owen the number seven shirt – and declared Old Trafford closed for transfer business.
It was anticipated Ferguson would make further signings in addition to Owen, Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan, who joined last week from Bordeaux.
But, faced with a market over-inflated by Real Madrid and Manchester City, Ferguson has decided his current squad is good enough to challenge for an unprecedented fourth consecutive league title, even though Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez have left.
He said: “It is the end of our business, so all these stories about who we are supposed to be getting – forget it.”
It means Owen will take over Ronaldo’s shirt and his place in an attacking line-up containing Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, plus youngsters Daniel Welbeck and Federico Macheda, who will both be given a chance to prove they are worthy of the accolades that have been bestowed on them.
“They are both young players – but young players with ability always get a chance here.”