In Depth

Man Utd boss Solskjaer is backed to ‘spend, spend, spend’ this summer

Despite a fall in revenues, Ed Woodward is bullish about the club’s finances and squad rebuild

Manchester United may have recorded a fall in operating profits and revenues but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to implement the club’s long-term plans and squad rebuild.

Sky Sports reports that United have announced a 17% fall in operating profit to £36.5m in their second quarter fiscal results. Recorded revenues were £168.4m in the second quarter, down 19.3% on the same period last year, while net debt has increased by 23.2% (£73.6m) to £391.3m.

The lack of Champions League football has hit United hard but Woodward remains “bullish” about the club’s finances and the squad rebuild under current boss Solskjaer.

In January the Red Devils signed Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in a deal estimated to be worth £47m while it’s also reported that the club have a list of major targets for this summer’s transfer window. 

In a call with shareholders, Woodward said: “We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season. 

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild, with many changes in terms of players we have brought in and players that have come through our academy.

“The foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole.”

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Who’s on Ole’s target list? 

Solskjaer’s future at Old Trafford has been the topic of much speculation in recent months, but The Sun says that Woodward’s comments prove that the Norwegian will definitely be in charge next season and will be backed to “spend, spend, spend” this summer. 

Having signed Fernandes in January and Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James last summer, Solskjaer has spent more than £210m since taking over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018. 

The Manchester Evening News reports that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish and the Daily Mail says that scouts have been sent to Spain to watch midfielder Martin Odegaard, who is on loan at Real Sociedad from Real Madrid. 

The Sun says that United remain in the market for Borussia Dortmund’s £100m-rated winger Jadon Sancho while Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin are also reportedly on the shortlist.

Two players who may be heading for the Old Trafford exit this summer are Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira. The Daily Express says the interest in Villa star Grealish suggests that the duo will be sold at the end of the season.

United chief Woodward believes that the club’s plan to rebuild the squad is going in the “right direction”.

In the conference call he added: “This season is one of re-build. But the signing of Fernandes proves we will continue to implement Ole’s plan. We want to continue to bring in experienced, world-class recruits with the same planned discipline.

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

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