EPL

Woodward wants 'world-class' signings and academy focus as Man United net debt jumps £137m

By Sports Desk November 18, 2019

Ed Woodward insists Manchester United want to bring in "world-class" signings to complement academy graduates despite the club's net debt increasing by £137million in the first quarter of 2020.

United announced their latest financial figures on Monday, in which they confirmed net debt had risen from £247m to £384m, based on the three months ending September 30 in 2018 and 2019.

United put the increase down to the investment in new signings Harry Maguire, Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the transfer window, which was partly offset by the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter.

The club was still able to post an increase in total revenue of £0.4m and no change in gross debt levels, despite the outlay on their three most recent signings and the loss of Champions League broadcasting revenue for this season.

United have been tipped to make moves in the transfer window in January, with strikers such as Mario Mandzukic and Erling Haaland linked with a possible switch to Old Trafford to bolster a forward line that has been exposed this season by injuries, most notably to Anthony Martial.

Executive vice-chairman Woodward has made it clear he wants to bring in elite-level players for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although he says much of their focus remains on encouraging the development of youngsters in the academy.

Describing the Premier League season to date as "mixed" for Solskjaer's side, Woodward told investors on Monday: "Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing fast, attacking football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions. We know this will not be achieved overnight; however, we feel we have made investments that set us on the right path.

"Over the last few years, we have significantly invested in our recruitment infrastructure to augment our already strong and experienced recruitment team, all of whom who are working to a clear philosophy. This is demonstrated by the signings of Maguire, James and Wan-Bissaka, who have all settled in well.

"We will continue with our strategy to promote the best of the players graduating from our academy together with material investment in the coming summers to strengthen our young squad further and challenge for trophies.

"We fielded the youngest team in the Premier League this season against Brighton and Hove Albion. We are approaching a milestone 4000th competitive game with an academy player in the squad.

"I want to reiterate our need for investment is underpinned by strong financial results."

United, who are seventh in the Premier League table after 12 matches, take on Sheffield United on Sunday.

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