Gill explains United's transfer plans
Chief executive David Gill has warned Manchester United fans to prepare for a "busier than normal" summer in the transfer market.
With Edwin van der Sar due to follow Gary Neville into retirement, Paul Scholes yet to confirm whether he will extend his career by a further season and major doubts hanging over senior figures such as Michael Owen, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves, changes are inevitable at the Premier League champions.
It does appear youngsters Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley will be given their chance after impressing during loan spells with Sunderland and Wigan Athletic respectively. However, Gill has given the clearest indication yet that United supporters can expect at least one big-name arrival, and the likelihood is there will be more.
"It probably will be slightly busier than normal," Gill told MUTV during the annual Manchester United players' awards ceremony at Old Trafford. "Gary has retired already. Edwin is retiring and Paul has to decide what he wants to do.
"We have been working very hard over the course of the last 12 months to plan which positions we need to fill, identifying those players and trying to work on it. What [Sir] Alex Ferguson has done very successfully for nearly 25 years is to reinvent the team slowly and integrate them within the established stars.
"That is what we will continue to do. It gives a buzz to everyone at the club when you bring in high quality players. It is something we look forward to with relish."
United have been heavily linked with Atletico Madrid's 20-year-old goalkeeper David De Gea, although it would go against Ferguson's preference for a goalkeeper with great experience. Aston Villa's Ashley Young has long been viewed as a potential United target, although more latterly Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has come into the reckoning.
The FIFA World Cup™ finalist would be an obvious replacement for Scholes, whom Gill admitted last weekend might opt to call time on his stellar career after the UEFA Champions League final with Barcelona at Wembley on 28 May.
Ferguson chases new signings
Gill's observations were echoed by Ferguson, who claimed he was chasing three signings to bolster a squad that has reached the Champions League final for the third time in four years.
"We have some ideas in mind," said the United manager. "Hopefully we can get them put in place. We have Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes coming towards the end of their careers, Gary Neville has already retired and Edwin van der Sar is retiring, so there are holes we want to plug up in terms of the safety and security of the team for the next few years.
"Of course, we have some excellent young players and a lot of them have progressed, which gives us a great, powerful squad. I am looking at maybe three signings which would boost our overall quality in our team."
Nani crowned United king
As he went up to present the main players' player of the year award to Nani, Ferguson could not resist a dig at Liverpool, whom he knocked off their perch by clinching United's 19th league title at Blackburn on Saturday.
Twenty-four hours later, some intrepid fans managed to get a banner into Anfield proclaiming "MUFC 19 times" which they hung from the Anfield Road End of the ground before making a very quick getaway.
"I wish I had taken that banner to Liverpool on Sunday," Ferguson said. "I bet there were 76,000 fans wishing they had thought of that."
In addition to Nani, Javier Hernandez was crowned fans' player of the year, with Wayne Rooney the overwhelming choice for goal of the season, his magnificent overhead kick against Manchester City at Old Trafford in February.