“Man Utd used to be a club that broke transfer records”
Not a long time ago, in a galaxy very, very close, Manchester United were breaking transfer records left, right and centre. These days, it’s all change at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson is spending money on promising youngsters, but gone are the days when he was signing Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastián Verón and Rio Ferdinand for close to £100m. Ferguson wants a good deal in the transfer market, most recently shown by him baulking at São Paulo’s demands for £30m for Lucas Moura. But is his hand being forced? The Life’s a Pitch panel delves deeper.
“Manchester United are holding back,” says journalist and author Ian Ridley. “Ferguson has talked a lot recently about value for money in the market and I think he’s getting to that age, as is Arsène Wenger, where they are horrified by the amounts of money floating around. They missed out on Eden Hazard for that very reason. The problem is that United are supposedly the richest club in the world, so [as a fan] you would think: ‘Why are we taking £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo instead of paying £80m?’ They always used to be a club that broke transfer records and now they’re not doing it.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of Manchester, Man City boss Roberto Mancini has got a permanently open purse to buy whomever he wants. Is it a surprise, then, that Sir Alex hasn’t publicly criticised the Glazer family?
Not so, according to Dominic Fifield of the Guardian. ”He’s an employee – why would he? You can look at it from the outside, and it is remarkable just how supportive he is of the Glazer regime; he has no complaints with them and feels they have done well for him in terms of the investment he’s had for the structure of the team. [But] It’s so depressing when you see a club like United effectively channeling its monies through the Cayman Islands; it doesn’t seem right. I can see why United fans are up in arms about it, but they’ve been made impotent, really.”
Has the way in which the Glazers bought Man Utd had an impact on their spending power? David Walker of the Sunday Mirror believes so. ”The success that the club has had [on the pitch], and the commercial success, has helped the Glazers borrow money from the club,” he says. “This whole leverage scheme, you would look at it as a fan and say ‘it’s not good’. £80m-90m a season is being taken out of the club to pay their interest debt, it’s a huge problem – if they’d bought the club clean, that money could have been used for other things including players. If I was a fan, I would be aggrieved with the way the club was purchased, but it was within the law and there’s not a lot that fans can do about it.”
The panel also discusses Chris Smalling’s injury problems and whether Man Utd can win a 20th Premier League title this season.
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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