Man Utd to take disciplined approach to summer transfers

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February 25, 2020
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    Bruno Fernandes

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made Bruno Fernandes his only major signing in the transfer window for £47m

    Manchester United will take the “same planned, disciplined approach” to transfers this summer after making three signings in January’s window.

    Bruno Fernandes signed for £47m a day before the window closed with Odion Ighalo and Nathan Bishop both arriving on deadline day.

    Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the club had been “linked in the media to 111 players in January”.

    He also said boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would continue the club’s “vision”.

    Woodward added: “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.”

    Woodward’s comments came after United announced an 11.6% drop in revenues in the six months to December, which it explained was because of the team’s absence from this season’s Champions League.

    United are unbeaten in five games since they agreed a deal to sign Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon on 29 January.

    Two Premier League wins and a draw since the Portuguese midfielder made his debut have lifted the club to fifth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

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    Fernandes’ arrival appears to have given the club a much-needed boost, especially after a home defeat by Burnley on 22 January and an attack by fans on Woodward’s home.

    It also comes at a time when there is uncertainty about the future of record signing Paul Pogba.

    Woodward backs Solskjaer and supports FFP

    United manager Solskjaer has been criticised by some fans this season, unhappy with the club’s style of play under the Norwegian’s leadership.

    However, Woodward said: “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.”

    Woodward was also asked a question by an investor about Financial Fair Play (FFP) after Manchester City were banned from the Champions League for two seasons for “serious breaches” of Uefa’s FFP rules.

    Woodward said: “I’m not going to comment on City or any other clubs relating to those events.

    “But, what I will say is, I go to a lot of Uefa-related meetings, and I see a strong commitment from Uefa to ensure that Financial Fair Play continues to deliver the benefits that it clearly has in the industry.

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    “If you look at the last five years, the overall operating profits across the top leagues in the 55 countries in Europe, they have gone from pretty large losses all the way up to breaking even and small operating profits.

    “I think it’s been beneficial overall and clearly it’s up to the regulators to manage that.”

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    February 25, 2020
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