Phelan denies money claim

Assistant manager Mike Phelan has dismissed suggestions that Manchester United pulled out of their deal to sign Adem Ljajic due to a lack of transfer funds.

The Old Trafford club struck a deal with Partizan Belgrade to sign Zoran Tosic and 18-year-old Ljajic 12 months ago in a combined £16.5million deal.

Tosic joined the Red Devils immediately, while Ljajic was to follow in January 2010 after Sir Alex Ferguson described the duo as two potential stars of the future.

United pulled the plug on the Ljajic deal earlier this week, but Phelan – who was filling in for Ferguson at Friday's press conference – claimed the failure to secure a work permit rather than a lack of transfer funds was behind the decision.

Partizan president Dragan Djuric had fuelled rumours of financial difficulties at Old Trafford when he attempted to explain the collapse of the transfer.

"We made a tentative approach to getting a work permit and the word we got back from the Home Office was we couldn't get that through in time to get Adem signed in January," said Phelan.

"I don't think money is an issue.

"The point is do you lay out money for Adem knowing there is a possibility that you might not be able to get him?

"As it stands Adem Ljajic won't be coming to Old Trafford in January."

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