Manchester United are ready United to launch spending spree on new players as commercial revenue rockets

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward plays down impact of any failure to qualify for Champions League

Manchester United are preparing for a summer of heavy spending in the transfer market after Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal left them 11 points adrift in the race for a Champions League place.

Needing a victory to reignite any realistic chances off finishing in the top four, Robin van Persie came closest to breaking the deadlock against his former club when his header was brilliantly saved by Wojciech Szczesny. But, despite denying Arsenal the opportunity to go back to the top of the table in place of Chelsea, United found Liverpool’s late win at Fulham stretched the gap to fourth place into double figures. David Moyes will now be given significant funds to rebuild his squad in the summer after the club’s latest financial results showed another hefty jump in commercial revenues in the second half of last year.

United’s chief executive, Ed Woodward suggested on Wednesday that despite smashing the club’s transfer record to sign Juan Mata for £37m last month, they intend to step up their activity in the transfer market “in a way we perhaps haven’t seen in recent years”.

Read more: Manchester United post record quarterly revenues
Arsenal v Manchester United: A rivalry like no other
Eric Cantona advert banned
Ozil v Rooney: Head-to-head analysis
Moyes thanks fans for keeping faith

“We wouldn’t necessarily be looking to churn a huge number of players, because that can have a destabilising effect, but we aren’t afraid of moving in the market,” said Woodward, on a conference call with City analysts. “If you look at the historical churning of players by number, we’ve had roughly three sales and three purchases each year, and it’s possible we would do more than that.”

The club, 10 per cent of which is partially floated on the New York Stock Exchange, reported yesterday that its commercial revenues rose 30 per cent year on year in the six months to December, hitting £102.2m. Those figures were lifted by new sponsorship deals with Unilever, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Fuji TV.

But the club’s share price has been battered as the team’s fortunes on the pitch have declined. The stock is around 22 per cent down on its peak of $19 last May. There was an initial jump in the price on Wednesday, but it soon fell back to around $14.8 (£8.97). Some hedge funds have taken up a short position, betting on further declines.

 

Unveiling the results, Woodward exhibited concern at United’s poor season, noting that “everyone from the team manager down has acknowledged [it] is disappointing”. Analysts estimate that United’s revenues could take a £15m hit if they miss out on Champions League football next season for the first time since 1995.

The results show that United’s debt pile – which alienated many fans in the wake of the Glazer family’s leveraged buyout of the club in 2005 – continues to fall. Gross debt declined to £356.6, down from more than £716.5m in 2008-09.

Wednesday night’s draw maintained Moyes’s record of never having won at Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool – a run of 38 games over 12 years. But the embattled manager has refused to throw in the towel just yet. “We have a lot of catching up to do. We have to win games and keep plugging away,” he said.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat