The Daily Mail says Ferguson has been told by the club's owners he can spend as much as he thinks is appropriate on transfer fees this summer but has been warned that the club will not pay inflated wages.
It is understood that although United are aware it could cost them players, as it did when Karim Benzema moved to Real Madrid from Lyon last summer, Ferguson, chief executive David Gill and the Glazer family will stick to the methods they believe have contributed to their success over the years.
Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are among United's top earners with wages in excess of £100,000 a week. That figure is likely to be exceeded when Wayne Rooney renegotiates his contract at the end of the summer.
However, these figures pale in comparison with Emmanuel Adebayor's £190,000 a week at City and the £150,000 Chelsea pay John Terry and Frank Lampard. City also offered Chelsea skipper Terry more than £200,000 a week to join them last summer.