Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Woodward expects few new arrivals

Manchester United won the Premier League title with four games to spare

Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is not anticipating "a major retooling" of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad this summer.

Woodward was speaking to outline United's third quarter results, which once again show an impressive rise in their commercial income. And with Ferguson admitting he was giving his squad rebuilding idea some thought, it has been anticipated further big name signings would be made.

However, after winning the Premier League title this term with four games to spare, Woodward is not sure that is strictly necessary. "I wouldn't expect there to be a major retooling of the squad," said Woodward.

"There is incredible depth. We could put two first teams out with 11 internationals in each. It has been a phenomenal season. We are a long way ahead in the Premier League and whilst I wouldn't describe the way we got knocked out of the Champions League as luck things could have gone differently in that game.

"We have a young squad and each of those are a year older. We are very comfortable with the make up of team and squad."

Nevertheless, Ferguson will continue to be linked with a series of star players, most recently Robert Lewandowski and Ramadel Falcao, whilst newly crowned FWA Player of the Year Gareth Bale is another United admire.

The Red Devils can certainly feel bullish about attracting the top talent when it is considered their year-on-year turnover for the first nine months has risen 13.1 per cent to £278.1million. Of that, commercial income is now £114.5million, an increase of 27.9 per cent.

It underlines just how strong United have become in that area of their business, and it doesn't include the new £120million, eight-year deal with AON, which includes naming rights to their Carrington training complex and sponsorship of their training kit and overseas tours.

Broadcast and matchday sectors show a 21.7 per cent and 34 per cent increase on the corresponding three months, whilst gross debt stands at £367.6million, still a vast sum, a decrease of 15.9 per cent since June 30 last year.

However, total operating expenses for the third quarter increased 18.6 per cent year-on-year to £79million. That has been put down partly to the arrival of new signings, including Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, new contracts for the likes of Danny Welbeck and the growing commercial arm which means the club now have in excess of 800 staff.

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