Ed Woodward has said Manchester United remain committed to helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deliver success at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer has come in for criticism from some supporters after the Champions League campaign began with a 2-1 defeat to Swiss champions Young Boys on Tuesday night.
He is yet to win a trophy in his two-and-a-half years in charge but Woodward said the summer spending to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho is proof the club still believe he is the right man for the job.
“We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton,” Woodward said on Friday, in comments to be made to investors on a call.
“These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch. Furthermore, we recently sold Dan James to Leeds for a fee of £25 million, plus add-ons.
“We were delighted to welcome back Cristiano to the club, along with Raphael, Jadon and Tom, to further reinforce the progress that our first team has been making under Ole.
“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.”
United announced their annual financial results revealing a net loss of £92.2m. The club’s wage bill is up by 13.6% to £322.6m — primarily due to qualification for the Champions League — while the net debt is down from £474.1m to £419.5m. Total revenue for the year was £494.1m.
United spent more than £130m to bring in Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho — the second largest summer outlay in the Premier League behind Arsenal.
The investment comes at a time when many of Europe’s top clubs are still dealing with the financial fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic and Woodward insists it was only possible because of United’s ownership model — fronted by unpopular owners the Glazer Family — and their self-sustaining revenue streams.
“Our optimism about on-field prospects goes hand-in-hand with the confidence in our robust operational business model to enable continued investment in our football teams and facilities,” Woodward said.
“It is not an accident that we have been able to invest this summer at a time when many clubs have been retrenching.
“This reflects the strong commercial model we have built over many years, ensuring that our spending is always underpinned by revenues that we generate ourselves.”
Despite general optimism from Woodward, the announcement of United fourth quarter financial results also came with a warning.
Barcelona are having to significantly cut costs — including releasing Lionel Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain — and Woodward believes the expenditure on transfer fees and wages across football cannot be sustained.
“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,” he said.
“We are committed to working within the Premier League, the ECA and UEFA to promote greater financial sustainability at all levels of the game.”