Manchester United to cut back on transfer spending, says Woodward

Thursday February 9th, 2017

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United is set to reduce its activity in the transfer market following several overhauls of the squad since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

United has spent about 500 million pounds on new players under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current manager Jose Mourinho, although the club hasn't finished in the top three of the Premier League in the last three seasons.

United sold two midfielders—Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin—and didn't buy a player in January, with Mourinho satisfied with his squad and happy to wait until after the season to make further signings.

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"We aren't in a position necessarily where we have to churn a large number of players," Ed Woodward, United's executive vice chairman, told investors on Thursday. "We want to get to a more steady state, and to be buying and potentially selling a lower number of players each year.

"We are in that kind of environment now, compared to where we were perhaps two or three years ago, when there was a little bit more churn requirement from a playing squad perspective."

United is sixth in the Premier League, has reached the final of the League Cup, and is also alive in the FA Cup and Europa League.

Paul Pogba was signed for a world-record transfer fee of 105 million euros ($116 million) in the last offseason, while the arrivals of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly took Mourinho's spending in that transfer window to about $190 million.

Those signings led to a 14.2% rise in the wage bill at United, according to financial results for the quarter ending Dec. 31 that were announced by the club on Thursday.

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In his call to investors, Woodward would not be drawn on any transfer movements planned for the next offseason.

He also was coy when asked where United would be visiting on the team's preseason tour, only saying "it will be a larger tour than last year" when United went to China.

Woodward said an app based around the club's in-house television station, MUTV, will be launched globally.

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