Manchester United: Ed Woodward defends summer transfer spending despite failed Jadon Sancho pursuit

Mark Critchley
·2-min read
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (AFP via Getty Images)

Ed Woodward has defended Manchester United’s transfer spending from criticism after revealing the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Old Trafford club.

United signed five players during the most recent transfer window, with the arrivals of Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo following the £35m signing of Donny van de Beek.

The failure to sign priority target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund led to criticism of the club's hierarchy and recruitment department, with United unwilling to meet the €120m asking price.

But Woodward defended the club's level of summer transfer spending - which totalled approximately £78m - on a day where it was revealed that United's revenues fell by £118m during the last financial year.

"These recruits underscore our continued commitment to strengthening the squad and take our net investment in new players since summer 2019 to over €200m – more, I believe, than any other major European club over that time period," United's executive vice-chairman said.

Woodward also insisted that United's level of spending must be taken in context and compared to other top European clubs.

"Gross transfer spending across the big five European leagues was down around 40% this summer, driven by both a lower volume of transactions and lower average fees.

"The contraction was also felt at the top-end of the market, with no transactions over €100m for the first time in five years; and an almost 30% reduction in the average fee for the top 30 transfers.

"At a club level, many of our peers were cautious, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG having a combined net spent of €9m; or a median net spend of €13m.

"Of course there were one or two outliers the other way, most notably Chelsea, who were making up for not being able to be active during their transfer ban in summer 2019.

"But one needs to look across multiple windows to gain a clearer perspective; and as I mentioned earlier our aggregate net investment over the last three transfer windows compares very favourably with our peers."

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