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Ferguson reveals top-earner status in new book

Alex Ferguson received a higher salary than any of his players from 2010 onwards, the former Manchester United manager has revealed in a new book.

'Leading', which was published on Tuesday, details how the aftermath of a contract saga involving Wayne Rooney led to Ferguson becoming established at the top of the Old Trafford payroll.

Rooney was linked with a move away from United in October 2010 when he controversially questioned the club's ambitions in terms of signing top-class players.

The two parties ultimately found a resolution, establishing Rooney as United's top earner until Ferguson intervened.

"I told them I did not think it fair that Rooney should earn twice what I made and [the joint-chairman] Joel Glazer immediately said: 'I totally agree with you but what should we do?'," the Scot wrote.

"It was simple. We just agreed that no player should be paid more than me. We agreed in less time than it takes to read the previous sentence."

The Glazer family's tenure as United owners has remained unpopular with a sizeable proportion of the club's support but, not for the first time, Ferguson throws his weight behind the Americans.

"From my perspective as manager they have been very good owners," he said.

Ferguson also defended the process to appoint David Moyes as his successor, despite the former Everton boss failing to see out a single season at Old Trafford as defending champions United slumped to a seventh-placed finish in 2013-14.

Much stock was placed in Moyes' apparent status as Ferguson's chosen heir but, in 'Leading', the 73-year-old reveals that he was keen for Pep Guardiola to return to management at Old Trafford on the back of a year-long sabbatical following his decorated spell in charge of Barcelona.

"I had dinner with Pep Guardiola in New York in 2012, but couldn't make him any direct proposal because retirement was not on my agenda at that point," Ferguson said.

"He had already won an enviable number of trophies with Barcelona… and I admired him greatly. I asked Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club, but he didn't and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013."

Ferguson added that Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp and current Old Trafford incumbent Louis van Gaal were also discussed but ultimately concluded to be unavailable.

"When we started the process of looking for my replacement, we established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable," he explained.

"It became apparent that Jose Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea, and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid.

"We also knew that Jurgen Klopp was happy at Borussia Dortmund and would be signing a new contract. Meantime, Louis van Gaal had undertaken to lead the Dutch attempt to win the 2014 World Cup."