Ferguson to shop around for new striker


Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is hoping to sign a striker in January to boost the club's prospects in the Premiership and the Champions League.

United, who booked their place in the second round of the Champions League with a 3-2 win over Olympiakos last night, have lost a number of key players through injury. They have been stretched in certain areas, particularly up front.

With Ruud van Nistelrooy out with a hamstring problem and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffering an ankle injury in training, Ferguson was left with Diego Forlan as his sole fit striker.

The Uruguayan showed some nice touches, but there is no sign of him becoming a regular source of goals.

The problem is that most of Europe's top strikers have played in this season's Champions League and would be ineligible to play for United in the current campaign.

For the first time, Ferguson admitted he may bring in a striker to play only in the Premiership, once the transfer window reopens in January.

"The only thing is to buy for the league alone because we are a bit light in that department," Ferguson told the club's website. "If you look down the list of top strikers, they have all played European football".

United had been linked with Deportivo La Coruna's Spanish international Diego Tristan and AC Milan's Ukrainian forward Andriy Shevchenko. Neither of them has played in the Champions League this season because of injury or, in Shevchenko's case, strained relations with his current club.

Ferguson is also an admirer of West Ham's Paulo di Canio, who has been unsettled by the London club's refusal to commit to a new contract.