EPL

Woodward proud to have served Man Utd as Old Trafford exit is confirmed

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Ed Woodward is proud to have worked for Manchester United, as his departure from the club at the end of 2021 was confirmed.

It has been a remarkable 48 hours across football, with United – and their owners the Glazer family – key players in a 12-team European Super League which was announced, to much derision, on Sunday. 

Yet two days later, following widespread condemnation from national governments, football associations, UEFA, FIFA and fellow clubs, the breakaway league appears to be crumbling, with United's neighbours Manchester City the first team to officially withdraw.

Chelsea, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also rumoured to be set to follow suit, while Liverpool's players have gone on a social media campaign – spearheaded by captain Jordan Henderson – to show their displeasure with the proposals.

News broke on Tuesday evening, UK time, that Woodward, a hugely divisive figure during his time as United's executive vice-chairman, was to resign from his post, with hisdeparture was subsequently confirmed on United's official website.

"I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world's greatest football club for the past 16 years," Woodward said.

"The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

"I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club's culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

"We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

"I am sure that, with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years, this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to. 

"I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans."

Woodward went on to credit United's work on the academy, while also praising the club's community work during the COVID-19 pandemic – a crisis cited as a major reason for the development of the proposed European Super League in the competition's initial announcement.

"The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures," Woodward added.

"I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

"Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people."

Under Woodward's leadership, United have hired and fired David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, while also breaking their transfer record for Paul Pogba in 2016. Their highest Premier League finish since Alex Ferguson left in 2013 has been second place under Mourinho in 2017-18.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: "Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction. On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication.

"His contribution to the club has been massive, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family."

Related items

  • Laporta reiterates Barcelona's De Jong stance, labels Ronaldo situation 'interesting' Laporta reiterates Barcelona's De Jong stance, labels Ronaldo situation 'interesting'

    Barcelona have no intention of selling Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United, according to club president Joan Laporta, although he admitted the club's perilous financial situation could create the "need" for a sale.

    Meanwhile, Laporta labelled Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent desire to leave United "interesting" but would not be drawn on whether the Blaugrana would target the Portuguese legend.

    De Jong, who starred in Erik ten Hag's Ajax side before moving to Barcelona in 2019, has been touted as United's top transfer target since the Dutchman was announced as the club's new boss in April.

    While the midfielder expressed his desire to stay at Barcelona in May, the club's need to reduce their wage bill has led to suggestions a sale could still be possible.

    Laporta said last week he would do "what is in my power" to keep De Jong but acknowledged the Netherlands international would need to agree to a salary adjustment to remain at Camp Nou.

    The Blaugrana president repeated that stance at Wednesday's unveiling of new signing Franck Kessie, saying of De Jong: "He's a Barca player and if we don't have the need, we won't sell him. We don't want to sell him. 

    "We know he has offers, but right now we're not selling this player."

    While Ten Hag appears to see De Jong as the ideal candidate to be the fulcrum of his new United side, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will remain at Old Trafford after widespread reports of his desire to leave for a Champions League club emerged last week. 

    Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions for United last season, but the club ended the season in sixth place with their lowest-ever Premier League points tally (58).

    But Laporta refused to be drawn on whether Barcelona could make a remarkable move for the 37-year-old, who starred in four Champions League triumphs with their historic rivals Real Madrid.

    "I had dinner on Monday with [Ronaldo's agent] Jorge Mendes and we talked about the market in general," he added.

    "Cristiano? I'm not going to talk about the players who came out of the meeting, but it's always interesting to know how some names are on the market.

    "I'm not going to talk about players in one way or another, it could be misunderstood. It doesn't contribute anything to the interests of Barca. We have to respect the players who have contracts with other teams."

    Meanwhile, Barcelona's need to adjust their finances in order to strengthen Xavi's squad has led to uncertainty over the future of winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract with the club expired last month.

    Dembele made more assists (13) in all competitions than any other Barca player last season, and while Laporta is keen to keep the 2018 World Cup winner, says the 25-year-old is yet to respond to the club's offer.

    "We are in a situation of uncertainty. Right now, we still can't sign [him]," he said.

    "We are talking to players we are interested in so they can wait for us. Ousmane is not a Barca player, but we have made him an offer.

    "He has not accepted our proposal, but he wants to continue talking. We will continue talking, at least for now. 

    "Salary balance is necessary for the team to be competitive. All discussions are framed in this context. We're not in a hurry, although we're aware that we can't delay. Let no one expect us not to act with the utmost prudence".

  • 'He told me it was a good place!' - Kessie reveals Ibrahimovic advice after Barcelona move 'He told me it was a good place!' - Kessie reveals Ibrahimovic advice after Barcelona move

    Franck Kessie sought the advice of Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of completing his move to Barcelona.

    The Ivory Coast international has joined the LaLiga giants on a free transfer from Milan, having helped the Serie A side to the Scudetto last season.

    Legendary Rossoneri striker Ibrahimovic has previously represented Barca among his plethora of clubs, helping the Blaugrana win the title in the 2009-10 season.

    Kessie sought out the thoughts of the veteran Sweden striker when contemplating his own switch.

    "He told me it was a good place," Kessi said. "He recommended that I work hard."

    There will be a wait for both Kessie and fellow new arrival Andreas Christensen to feature, however, with Barca president Joan Laporta once again confirming the club are unable to register either player.

    The Catalan club's financial struggles have been well-documented, and there will need to be a reduction in the wage bill within their squad to accommodate their new players.

    Laporta is confident they will be able to do so without suffering serious losses to the makeup of their team, adding: "We have absolute respect for our players.

    "With whom the coach does not have, we are working on a consensual agreement. The sports management is working very well.

    "It is not easy, because the footballers we want have contracts similar to their current ones. Most have the hope and illusion of convincing the coach. Logic will prevail."

  • Inter bring in right-back Bellanova Inter bring in right-back Bellanova

    Inter have confirmed the signing of right-back Raoul Bellanova from Cagliari.

    The terms of the deal were not revealed on Wednesday, but reports last month suggested the defender was set to join on an initial loan with an obligation to buy.

    Serie A officially listed the transfer as a loan on its website on Tuesday.

    Bellanova had joined Cagliari permanently in May following a similar agreement with Bordeaux, his prior parent club.

    The 22-year-old Italy youth international stood out in Serie A last season, scoring one goal and assisting two more in 31 games. He created 32 chances – the 13th-most among all defenders.

    However, Bellanova could not rescue Cagliari from relegation, as they finished a point behind Salernitana in 18th place.

    He becomes the fifth new recruit for the 2022-23 season, joining Andre Onana, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the returning Romelu Lukaku and Kristjan Asllani at Inter.

    The Nerazzurri have also made loan moves for Robin Gosens and Joaquin Correa permanent.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.