Ed Woodward defends Manchester United's transfer policy amid mounting fan dissatisfaction
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has defended the club’s recruitment policy, arguing that the signing of Bruno Fernandes is “evidence that our process is the right one”, amid growing fan dissatisfaction with the Old Trafford hierarchy.
With United continuing to struggle for form and results, both Woodward and the Glazer ownership have come under criticism from fans this season.
Last month a group of supporters attacked Woodward’s home in Cheshire with flares and sprayed graffiti on the front gates of the property. A video was posted online as the attack occurred, with the caption: “Ed Woodward’s gonna die”.
Earlier in January, a vocal group of supporters located in Old Trafford’s Stretford End turned on the Glazers and executive vice-chairman during United’s 4-0 victory over Norwich City. Since then, anti-Woodward chants have been regularly sung by disgruntled fans.
But in his first public statement since the attack on his home, Woodward has left such disaffection unaddressed, instead highlighting the “behind-the-scenes” progress being made in United’s “rebuild”.
“The signing this week of Bruno Fernandes and return of key players from injury will be a boost to Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and the squad as we head into the second half of the season,” Woodward said in his introductory remarks for United’s quarterly Fans Forum meeting.
“We remain in contention in the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as for Champions League qualification, so there is still lots to play for.”
Although he admitted that “we are not yet where we want to be” and “progress may not always be smooth”, the 48-year-old praised the “significant work” that is being done to “ensure we have the right players, the right infrastructure, and the right culture to sustain long-term success”.
“There has been extensive work on our recruitment process, with considerable investment in scouting, data and analytics,” Woodward said. “The Recruitment Department is working to a clear plan and philosophy, along with Ole and his coaching staff.
“Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity.
“We had consistently taken the view that – because January is not an optimal time in terms of availability of players – we would only buy in January if players we had already targeted for the summer became available and we were pleased that this strategy played out with the signing of Bruno Fernandes.”
United completed the £46m signing of Fernandes last month after weeks of speculation.
The deal for the 25-year-old had hit an impasse over the transfer fee, with Sporting reluctant to let their star player leave for less than £50m. However, a breakthrough was made when the two clubs agreed a series of performance-related add-ons which could amount to a further £20m.
Fernandes has been the outstanding player in Portuguese football for some time, winning back-to-back Primeira Liga player of the year awards.
He joins the likes of Fred, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alexis Sanchez and other high-profile names to have been signed by United under Woodward and the Glazers in recent years.
Despite criticism of United’s policy, that has seen in excess of £1billion spent since their last title win in 2013, Woodward stands by the club’s approach to the transfer market.
“Bruno Fernandes and the players we brought last summer are evidence that our process is the right one. There has been no shortage of investment in players over the past few years, with over 200 million pounds spent since Ole became manager; our aim is to ensure that we continue to achieve consistency in quality of recruitment.”
This news item was provided by the The Independent - Premier League website - the original link is: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-united-news-transfer-ed-woodward-house-attack-home-latest-a9327581.html