Woodward claims staggering number of Man Utd links; says January was ‘planned’

Ed Woodward claims Manchester United will take the “same planned, disciplined approach” to transfers this summer after being linked with “111 players in January”.

United made three signings last month with youngster Nathan Bishop joining long-term target, £47million man Bruno Fernandes and deadline-day recruit Odion Ighalo.

The 30-year-old Ighalo arrived late on January 31 from Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua, but not before United had approached numerous other frontmen, including Bournemouth forward Josh King.

Still, executive vice-chairman Woodward, who said the club had been “linked in the media to 111 players in January”, claimed United’s business had been “planned and disciplined”.

Speaking at the club’s Q2 financial results Woodward said, via the BBC: “Despite being linked in the media to 111 players in January, our acquisition of just one of them – Bruno Fernandes – is an important step, demonstrating our commitment to adding experienced, world-class recruits to the exciting crop of academy graduates that are at the heart of this developing team.

“We will take the same planned, disciplined, approach this coming summer.

“In addition to the first team signings, somewhat under the radar, we have also made a number of exciting youth acquisitions in the past year, reflecting our commitment to bringing the best talent into our Academy.”

The club reiterated their revenue guidance for the year of between £560million and £580million, while net debt is up 23.2 per cent to £391.3m.

The club say the increase of £73.6m over the year is “primarily due to an overall decrease in cash and cash equivalents” and that “the gross USD debt principal remains unchanged”.

United recorded revenues of £168.4m in Q2 – down 19.3 per cent on the same period the previous year – and an operating profit of £36.5m, which is down 17 per cent due in no small part to the lack of Champions League football.




But commercial revenues are up seven per cent, including 11.9 per cent in sponsorship, following recent deals with Alibaba and Mondelez International.

Woodward added: “Since our last call in November we have progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League; we are through to the fifth round in the FA Cup, and we remain in the mix to qualify for the Champions League.

“This season is one of rebuild, with many changes to the squad – in terms of players who have left or gone out on loan; new players who we have brought into the club; and academy graduates that we have brought through to the first team.

“This process will continue as we implement our plan and our footballing vision under Ole and his coaching staff.

“While we still have much to do, we are progressing with confidence in the right direction.”

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