‘We’re on the right track’: Manchester United chief Ed Woodward tells investors Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are headed in the direction of silverware after buying Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho
- Ed Woodward believes Manchester United are on course to win silverware
- He reiterated his faith in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after spending big in summer
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane all arrived in £135m spend
- United’s latest financial figures showed a net loss of £92.2m up until June
- The club’s debt fell from £474m to £419m with the wage bill increasing
Ed Woodward believes Manchester United are on track to win silverware after a strong summer of recruitment at Old Trafford.
As the club announced their latest financial figures, executive vice-chairman Woodward said tangible progress was being made under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to enable United to challenge for honours at home and in Europe.
Woodward said the summer signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane – for a combined outlay of £134million – were made possible by the club’s commercial strength which also helped ward off the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward believes the club are ‘on the right track’ to win silverware under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Old Trafford has inspired belief they will win trophies
The United chief said: ‘It has been an exciting start to the season at Old Trafford, with capacity crowds in attendance for the first time in almost 18 months.
‘We were delighted to welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo to the club, along with Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton, to further reinforce the progress that our first team has been making under Ole.
‘This was made possible by the strength of our operating model, with sustained investment in the team underpinned by robust commercial revenues.
‘Everyone associated with Manchester United can be proud of the resilience we have shown through the challenges created by the pandemic and we look forward to the rest of the season and beyond with great optimism.’
United recorded an operating loss of £36.9million last season due to the impact of Covid-19.
In their previous annual results, the Old Trafford giants’ revenue dropped from £627.1m to £509m – figures that incorporated just a three-month hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
The economic ramifications continued in the year ending June 30, 2021, with United seeing revenue drop down to £494.1m.
£73million winger Jadon Sancho was another big money arrival at Old Trafford in the summer
Defender Raphael Varane was signed from Real Madrid for around £35million this summer
The net loss of £92.2m – up 297.4 per cent from £23.2m in 2020 – was largely down to the accounting impact of a £66.6m non-cash tax charge.
Net debt was down from £474.1m to £419.5m year on year, thanks in no small part to season ticket revenues and favourable exchange rate.
Champions League participation was a key reason behind wages increasing by 13.6 per cent to £322.6m.
Speaking to investors on a conference call on Friday afternoon, Woodward added: ‘We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.
‘As part of this, we have continued to strengthen our recruitment and scouting processes, and we have also increased our investment in the Academy, to ensure that this success is sustainable.
‘While squad-building is a constant process, we are more confident than ever that we are on the right track.’
Old Trafford is full again this season after Covid-19 restrictions kept supporters away
United were among the dozen clubs from England, Spain and Italy that tried to break away and form a European Super League earlier this year.
This led to furious fan protests and a U-turn inside 48 hours and Woodward acknowledged the strength of feeling.
He said: ‘While we are confident in our relative strength, it remains clear that football as a whole faces major financial challenges caused by years of material inflation in wages and transfer fees, exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.
‘We are committed to working within the Premier League, the ECA and UEFA to promote greater financial sustainability at all levels of the game.
‘We want to be part of healthy, vibrant domestic and European football pyramids, working together with our governing bodies and, most importantly, the fans, to preserve and enhance the magic of our game.’
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