“War-chest”. A word with which football has become familiar to in the last couple of seasons, and one which has been thrown about by the Manchester United’s hierarchy with the same frequency with which Antonio Valencia misplaces a cross or loses possession.
Sir Alex Ferguson was allegedly given a sizeable budget to spend in his last season, but £24m were enough to secure Robin Van Persie’s services, while David Moyes has seemingly had a “war-chest” since arriving at Old Trafford, with Ed Woodward famously assuring him and us last summer that “United could compete with everybody in the transfer market,” which doesn’t really explain why we ended up signing Marouane Fellaini on deadline day.
And so, with a season now a complete write-off despite Juan Mata’s arrival in January, United must turn their sight towards the next transfer window, one which is likely to shape the club’s future given the number of players that are likely to depart Old Trafford and the number of new faces that, according to Woodward, are likely to come in.
Nemanja Vidic is off at the end of the season and the Serbian is likely to be followed by the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs and possibly Shinji Kagawa and Nani and many newspapers today, including the Mirror and the Independent, report that David Moyes could be handed as much as £200m to rebuild his team.
Ed Woodward yesterday admitted that United are determined to enter the summer market “in a way we perhaps haven’t seen in recent years” and that’s despite the projected £15m loss that could hit United were they to miss out on a Champions League spot – not longer as a possibility, but a probability at this stage.
“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. “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.”
United need at least two world class midfielders and will have to rebuild their back four but are traditionally reluctant to do business World Cup summers, therefore Woodward’s words seem more apt to placate and reassure shareholders than to get our hopes high just yet.