Ferguson says cash spent on transfers is 'jawdropping
Sir Alex Ferguson sits beneath a UEFA following a two-day meeting of the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum on September 4, 2014 in Nyon - by Fabrice Coffrini
Speaking two days after a study showed that transfer fee inflation in Europe's top leagues has hit 16% and that Manchester paid tens of millions of euros above the market rate for top purchase Angel di Maria, Ferguson said that was part and parcel of the sport.
"My personal opinion is that it's never going to change, the world is progressing, and transfer fees with it, and I don't know if there'll be an end to it," Ferguson said after a two day meeting with 18 top coaches hosted by European governing body UEFA.
"Fortunately, I'm not at the hub of it nowadays. Certainly it's amazing, the amount of money spent nowadays," said 72-year-old Ferguson, who retired in May 2013 after 26 years as United boss.
Manchester sacked his successor David Moyes after just 10 months, and new manager Louis van Gaal has been given a green light to splash out on big name players for the 20-time English champions, who are looking to rebuild following a disappointing seventh-place finish last season.
The club set a British record last week by paying 59.7 million pounds (75.5 million euros) for Real Madrid midfielder di Maria.
As the transfer window closed on Monday, they also signed Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco and Holland international Daley Blind from Ajax.
Blind's arrival, in a 14-million-pound (17-million-euros) transfer, had been expected, but the Falcao signing was a major coup.
United are reported to have agreed to pay Monaco around 10 million euros for the loan, with an option to make the deal permanent for 55 million euros.
All told, they have spent around 150 million pounds (190 million euros) on new players in the transfer window.
According to Swiss-based economic analysts the CIES Football Observatory, the di Maria deal was a case-study of the breakneck inflation.
CIES said United paid 30 million euros over the right price for the Argentina international.
The issue of over-the-odds fees was not formally on the table at the UEFA meeting.
Pressed on whether it had come up at all, Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp quipped: "No, we didn't speak about Great Britain!"
CIES also said the 62 million euros paid by French club Paris St Germain to bring Brazilian David Luiz from Chelsea was 29 million euros too high.
The sum was a world record for a defender.
Spending has been a thorny issue for the French champions, whose manager Laurent Blanc also took part in the UEFA meeting.
PSG's summer recruitment drive was effectively limited to Luiz. They abandoned their pursuit of di Maria because that would have meant selling someone first.
They have been sanctioned by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, namely accruing losses in excess of the 45-million-euro limit over the course of the past two seasons.
After Qatar Sports Investments bought PSG in 2011, the club spend huge sums over three years to become a European force, culminating in the 64 million-euro recruitment of Edinson Cavani from Napoli in 2013.
On Tuesday, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told AFP that UEFA's rules were "unfair".
Real Madrid, meanwhile, paid 25 million euros over the odds for World Cup Golden Boot James Rodriguez, CIES said.
The Colombian moved from Monaco for 80 million euros.
Those deals were emblematic of the role of wealthy clubs in stoking inflation, CIES said, noting that overall, European teams paid an average of 16% more than they invested in the five previous years for players with similar characteristics.
CIES examined football's "Big Five" first divisions -- England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.