EPL

Woodward wants 'world-class' signings and academy focus as Man United net debt jumps £137m

By Sports Desk November 18, 2019

Ed Woodward insists Manchester United want to bring in "world-class" signings to complement academy graduates despite the club's net debt increasing by £137million in the first quarter of 2020.

United announced their latest financial figures on Monday, in which they confirmed net debt had risen from £247m to £384m, based on the three months ending September 30 in 2018 and 2019.

United put the increase down to the investment in new signings Harry Maguire, Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the transfer window, which was partly offset by the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter.

The club was still able to post an increase in total revenue of £0.4m and no change in gross debt levels, despite the outlay on their three most recent signings and the loss of Champions League broadcasting revenue for this season.

United have been tipped to make moves in the transfer window in January, with strikers such as Mario Mandzukic and Erling Haaland linked with a possible switch to Old Trafford to bolster a forward line that has been exposed this season by injuries, most notably to Anthony Martial.

Executive vice-chairman Woodward has made it clear he wants to bring in elite-level players for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although he says much of their focus remains on encouraging the development of youngsters in the academy.

Describing the Premier League season to date as "mixed" for Solskjaer's side, Woodward told investors on Monday: "Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing fast, attacking football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions. We know this will not be achieved overnight; however, we feel we have made investments that set us on the right path.

"Over the last few years, we have significantly invested in our recruitment infrastructure to augment our already strong and experienced recruitment team, all of whom who are working to a clear philosophy. This is demonstrated by the signings of Maguire, James and Wan-Bissaka, who have all settled in well.

"We will continue with our strategy to promote the best of the players graduating from our academy together with material investment in the coming summers to strengthen our young squad further and challenge for trophies.

"We fielded the youngest team in the Premier League this season against Brighton and Hove Albion. We are approaching a milestone 4000th competitive game with an academy player in the squad.

"I want to reiterate our need for investment is underpinned by strong financial results."

United, who are seventh in the Premier League table after 12 matches, take on Sheffield United on Sunday.

Related items

  • Martial on top of his game – Solskjaer Martial on top of his game – Solskjaer

    Anthony Martial has cast aside any doubts over his ability with his superb form since the resumption of the Premier League season, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

    Manchester United striker Martial has scored 16 times in the top flight this term, including five goals since the Premier League restarted in June. 

    The France international has formed part of a formidable trio up front for United alongside Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, with midfielder Bruno Fernandes also in sensational form. 

    But Solskjaer insists he never had any concerns over Martial's quality, though the Norwegian has seen a different side of the 24-year-old's game this campaign. 

    "It's great when you're a striker scoring goals, on top of your game, fit and strong," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday. 

    "Mason has come into the frame and not looked back since the restart and it's fantastic to see them on the training ground. 

    "Martial is definitely developing, improving and enjoying his football, he's stepped it up this season as an individual and more as a team player, and physically. 

    "I remember there were talks about our forwards last season being the least active and there were stats flying around but Anthony is now working really hard for the team and he is a quality, quality finisher." 

    On Wednesday, the University of Manchester announced Martial's team-mate Rashford will receive an honorary degree in recognition of his achievements in the fight against child poverty. 

    Rashford partnered with FareShare to help raise £20million to put towards funding for free meals for children in need during the coronavirus pandemic, while the 22-year-old also successfully campaigned for the British government to extend a food voucher scheme for underprivileged children. 

    The England forward will be the youngest ever recipient of an honorary doctorate, and Solskjaer lauded Rashford's efforts off the field. 

    "We're so proud of Marcus, he's a great person and a great human being," Solskjaer said. 

    "The work he's done, he cares so much more about others than himself. Very proud of him and hopefully he'll keep his personality for the rest of his life and be himself." 

    United dropped points against Southampton last time out but are on equal footing with fourth-placed Leicester City as the race for Champions League qualification heads to the wire.

    However, Solskjaer is confident in his side's mentality approaching their final three fixtures.

    "Keep on doing what we've been doing, trust yourselves," he added. 

    "We're at a club where it always boils down to the last couple of weeks of the season, we've done fantastic since we restarted, had a great run, a little bit of a setback is a test for mentalities." 

  • Premier League transfer window set for July 27 until October 5 Premier League transfer window set for July 27 until October 5

    The Premier League transfer window is set to be open from July 27 until October 5.

    The 10-week period was settled upon by Premier League shareholders on Wednesday but is subject to approval from FIFA. 

    England's top-flight campaign, which resumed in June after being suspended for three months amid the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled to be completed on July 26. 

    Although international transfers must be completed by October 5, a domestic-only window will run until October 16.

    However, Premier League clubs will only be able to conduct deals with English Football League (EFL) teams and not with each other. 

    A Premier League statement read: "Premier League shareholders have agreed on the dates for the summer 2020 transfer window. 

    "The window will open for 10 weeks at the end of the current Premier League season, starting 27 July and ending October 5.  

    "Following consultation with the EFL, a domestic-only window will be added from October 5, closing 5pm on October 16. During this window, Premier League clubs will only be able to trade with EFL clubs (either loans or permanent registrations). No transfers can take place between Premier League clubs in this period.  

    "The transfer window is subject to the approval of FIFA."                                                                                                                                        

    While Premier League clubs will be able make signings before the Champions League and Europa League reach their respective conclusions next month, UEFA has already confirmed no new recruits will be able to compete. 

    A date for the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season is yet to be confirmed, though it has been reported it could commence on the final weekend of August. 

    UEFA Nations League matches are scheduled to take place from September 3-8, meaning that if an August start is not possible the campaign may not begin until the weekend of September 12.

  • De Gea is one of the best keepers in the world, says Man Utd team-mate Matic De Gea is one of the best keepers in the world, says Man Utd team-mate Matic

    David de Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world having saved Manchester United many times in his career, according to team-mate Nemanja Matic.

    After a shaky start to life at Old Trafford following his arrival from Atletico Madrid, Spaniard De Gea became a pivotal part of a United team in transition, winning player of the year for three successive seasons.

    However a slip in his previously lofty standards has led to greater scrutiny on his performances, with former Red Devils skipper Roy Keane even declaring he was "sick to death" of the keeper following Tottenham's goal in the 1-1 draw back in June.

    Commenting on Steven Bergwijn's opener on Sky Sports' live coverage of the Premier League fixture, Keane said: "I would be fighting him at half-time. I would be swinging punches at that guy."

    However, speaking to Stats Perform News, Matic explained that while he understands the role of those working in the media, De Gea remains in the top tier at his position.

    "I didn't see what he [Keane] said but I think we have to agree David is one of the best goalkeepers in the world," the United midfielder said  

    "He has saved us many times, saved points. Everyone is allowed to have mistakes - we are human.  

    "The pundits, their job is to say their opinions. They have to speak because one team loses. No problem - we respect them, and we will always try to improve."

    De Gea kept three clean sheets in four league outings after the draw with Spurs, though he was beaten twice as United drew with Southampton on Monday in his 400th appearance for the club.

    The result saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side miss the chance to climb into third place in the table above Chelsea, who duly won 24 hours later against Norwich City to increase the gap to four points.

    Frank Lampard has the Blues on course to qualify for the Champions League and while in direct competition for a top-four finish with his old club, Matic is impressed at the job done by his former team-mate at Stamford Bridge.

    "I am happy for [Frank Lampard], I have to say that he is doing good. Of course we are fighting with them for that Champions League spot, but I have to be honest and say that I am happy he is doing great, because he is a great, great guy," Matic said. 

    "I played with him when I signed for Chelsea in 2009, he was one of the best midfielders in the world, so when I trained with him he was a big example for me as a professional and I am happy for him after being a player, he's continued to do a great job as a manager.

    "I wish him all the best, but of course this season I wish to be ahead of him in the Champions League spots."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.