The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ferguson hints at Old Trafford clear-out

Manchester: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has admitted he may have to break up the nucleus of his side to keep pace with Arsenal and Liverpool.

United’s success over the past decade has grown from a hard-core of home-grown talent — such as Gary and Phil Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes — complimented by big-name signings like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and Rio Ferdinand.

But Ferguson fears he may need to clear out some of the players who have come through the youth ranks in order to improve his squad.

“We have created three teams in 10 years here, and it is possible we are on the way to building another one,” Ferguson told the club’s official website.

“If we do, obviously new players can come in. Maybe now it is time to assess that the nucleus of the team has been together for seven-nine years – it’s a long time.”

United lost their English Premier League title to Arsenal last season and are trailing the Gunners and Liverpool again this time around. Ferguson believes that gap is due to a combination of his closest rivals continually improving their squads, and his own side failing to meet United’s usual high standards.

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