Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has reiterated the club’s desire to be competitive in the transfer market ahead of next season, although he has warned that even they will not be immune from the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.
United are in a healthier financial position than most given their enormous turnover, much of which is made up of commercial revenue. The Old Trafford club recorded revenue close to £630m last season, although that figure was already set to drop this year even before the impact of coronavirus kicked in, owing to competing in the Europa League rather than the Champions League.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently expressed hope that they might be an opportunity to ‘exploit’ the transfer market when football business eventually resumes.
“Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it’s very important we’re ready when that happens,” the Norwegian said earlier this month.
“Who knows how the market is going to react to this? Who knows which clubs need to sell players? There might be just a situation there where you can exploit, and I know that we at Man United we are one of the biggest, and the biggest, financially well-off.”
Woodward is similarly hopeful that United will be competitive in the market. But that will only happen once there is a clear ‘path through the crisis’, while he also labelled it ‘inappropriate’ to be speculating about potentially record breaking deals.
“It feels somewhat inappropriate to see speculation about transfers for hundreds of millions in current circumstances,” Woodward said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“There’s a big disconnect between those stories and the economic realities facing football clubs in general. Clearly it’s true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.
“I would say that once we have that visibility of a path through the crisis and coming out of the other side to relative normality, then of course, we aim to remain highly competitive in the market.”
Despite the growing talk of ‘Project Restart’, it is still very unclear if it will be possible for the 2019/20 Premier League season to resume. Clubs’ financial situations will be directly affected by that, as will the dates and length of the upcoming off-season transfer window.
Right now, there are still so many unknowns.