Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has defended the club’s transfer policy to investors.
Amidst questions about Leicester’s success on such a low budget, Woodward had to explain why the club is struggling after spending almost £100m last summer.
“There’s a bit more pressure on some of the other clubs to bring in players who are going to hit the ground running and be top players, verging on world-class almost immediately.”
In a conference call, Woodward implied Leicester’s signings had to be more far-sighted than United’s, saying: “Some players are bought by other clubs with an eye to them developing into something special in a few years’ time.”
The implication was that the Old Trafford giants need ready-made, world-class players as the pressure for success is greater at Manchester United.
“There’s a bit more pressure on some of the other clubs to bring in players who are going to hit the ground running and be top players, verging on world-class almost immediately,” Woodward added. “So there is a slightly different market in which people are buying. Leicester is a fantastic reference point for everybody this year.”
With the Chinese Super League recruiting heavily from the European leagues this winter, Woodward was asked about his thoughts on the league’s newfound financial clout.
Alex Teixeira turned down a move to Liverpool in favour of a big money transfer to China, where he joined former Chelsea midfielder Ramires.
Jackson Martinez also followed, turning down deals at top European clubs in the process.
Guangzhou R&F manager Sven Göran Eriksson says Wayne Rooney would be offered £500,000 a week to move to China. The ex-England boss claimed: “Sooner or later, we are going to see names like Ronaldo, Messi and Rooney in this league — players on this level.”
Woodward sees commercial opportunities for Manchester United in the Chinese market.
He believes China’s spending spree will continue, saying “I do think there will be more activity coming in the summer, but it is very difficult to predict what kind of impact that will have. If nothing else, it’s another useful market if we are looking to sell players.”
Speculation continues to surround Louis van Gaal’s position at Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho expected to take over from the Dutchman at the end of the season.