Ed Woodward is yet to win the heart of every Manchester United supporter, but Red Devils will be encouraged to hear the chief executive speak openly about spending in large quantity this summer.
Speaking on United's pre-season tour of the United States, Woodward was quoted this week in saying the club can break their transfer record and then some this summer, per The Guardian's Jamie Jackson:
It’s difficult to deal in hypotheticals based on lots of different things. The reality is that we’re not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market. Whether it’s a record or not doesn’t really resonate with us. What resonates is an elite player that the manager wants who is going to be a star for Manchester United.
Of course it’s in our capabilities. You guys think about the money in a way that I don’t. I get pointed in the direction of a target that the manager wants and there is an assessment of what that might cost and I’ll negotiate hard to do the best I can on the trade.
Woodward's first year in the position unfortunately coincided with Manchester United's worst campaign in decades, with a significant portion of that blame being accredited to him for a distinct lack of activity in the transfer market.
United have already gone about correcting those mistakes in 2014, having spent more than £55 million already in bringing Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera to Old Trafford from Southampton and Athletic Bilbao, respectively.
However, Woodward is right to note that money isn't the sign of a good deal; quality is, and where those opportunities are seen is precisely where manager Louis van Gaal and United as a collective will focus their attentions:
I stand by what I said – there is no budget. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings. That doesn’t mean we go and throw money around. Louis is the manager. We have a lot of scouting output through the last 12 months, flagging up various things to us. Louis is the one that makes the ultimate decision around who he wants in the squad. I’m not going to force feed him with a player that he hasn’t selected.
In times of crisis, it's easy for change to be the immediate reaction in what's needed at a club. Fans in uproar and other financial pressures can create an environment that leads one to believe something new is what's needed.
However, while there may be no more Sir Alex Ferguson around, it's vital that the club doesn't lose touch with the old. Old morals and policies that brought about a decade and more of prosperity at the Theatre of Dreams, and can do so again, simply with a new face at the forefront.
The club have been told, for example, that Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria can be theirs this summer, with the Daily Star's Jack Wilson reporting that a sum of £40 million would be required to sanction such a deal.
If United were to make enough signings of such magnitude and quality, there is certainly a possibility that prosperous times would once again lay ahead, but at what cost?
More than mere pounds and euros, that's for sure. The Red Devils have always been a club that promotes a healthy chance being given to the youth, for example, but as Real Madrid and Chelsea have seen in recent years, spending in extremes can limit such chances.
Early evidence, per Sky Sports, would suggest that Van Gaal, like Ferguson before him, will be open to the idea of youth members making their mark:
Turning United into a more profitable brand won't be any of Van Gaal's concern, but that's also something that obviously needs to be considered. After all, the English giants aren't above buying and selling players for a profit like any other outfit.
Such was the case with Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, a player who they sold to Real Madrid for five times his original investment, not to mention all the glory that came as a result of his presence.
Woodward is also correct in stating that money is perceived differently by the average fan than it is by executive members. Spectators may hear of extreme amounts and find it preposterous that a player have so much spent on them in the form of a transfer fee, wages or any other cost.
However, the route in returning to greatness is far more complex for United, and the fact remains that they will spend whatever those at the head of the table see fit. It need not be small and it need not be big; it need only ensure that whichever players are added as a result are quality.
And that's of course where Van Gaal's sound sense of evaluation comes to play. In the Dutch national team, Van Gaal showed a capability in doing great things with a roster that had its limits; imagine what he's capable of when given a war chest to toy with.
BBC Sport's Howard Nurse notes that promises are all well and good, but adds that fans want to see Woodward's claims put into action:
An intriguing six weeks lie ahead in which Manchester United may conduct small deals or big deals, few deals or many. There isn't a prerequisite regarding what that business should entail, whether it be more splurging or a cut-price bargain.
But whatever moves the club makes, it's essential that a touch of tradition remains, and in the pursuit of establishing a new era, we see the old ways play their part in any future success.
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