Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed a significant increase in revenue in the last three months of 2015, while he also said he expects further spending in the summer and reaffirmed the club's commitment to invest in youth on Thursday.
Club revenue rose 26.6 per cent to £133.8 million from October to December last year, per BBC Sport.
Per the Associated Press' Rob Harris, United's commercial revenue made huge increases:
MAN UNITED Q2 financial results Oct-Dec:— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 11, 2016
Commercial revenues of £66.1 million up 42.5%
Debt down 6% to £322.1m
Man United's £122m "war chest" ...— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 11, 2016
(for a new manager's spending spree?) pic.twitter.com/T8Z2lqU607
Woodward also predicted revenues of more than £500 million in 2016, per the Press Association's Martyn Ziegler:
"Solid financial results" says Man Utd's Ed Woodward in half-yearly figures, and predicts £500m+ revenues next year. pic.twitter.com/4U8hYVwYqL— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 11, 2016
He insisted that off-field success only aided the priority of good results on the pitch, and he highlighted the club's "strong commitment" to the youth academy, per Vicki Hodges of the Daily Telegraph:
Our strong commitment to investing in our squad, youth academy and the broader club are ultimately underpinned by our financial strength and the hard work and dedication of everyone at the club. Our solid results off the pitch help contribute to what remains our number one priority—success on the pitch.
It seems Woodward is looking to invest further in the squad in the summer, as he said more spending would likely take place, per the Manchester Evening News' Samuel Luckhurst: "I do think there’ll be more activity in the summer."
United's youth development has been under close scrutiny recently, as fewer players have been promoted to the senior squad, and the under-18 side are enduring a 12-match losing streak in the Premier Academy League.
The club's youth ranks were once the envy of the footballing world, and Woodward confirmed that United are "looking to restructure the struggling academy," per Harris.
He also added that, while the academy provides players the chance to advance to the first team, senior United players are expected to be world-class almost immediately—a reason he gave for the lack of thrifty purchases, per the Independent's Ian Herbert:
Woodward also says that #mufc academy is offering advantages over "some of our rivals" by providing a "runway" into the first team— ian herbert (@ianherbs) February 11, 2016
Why can't you find cheap players like Leicester? Woodward asked. Says #mufc different because players must "immediately" be "top class"— ian herbert (@ianherbs) February 11, 2016
Per Ziegler, an announcement on a new academy manager is also seemingly imminent:
Announcement of new MUFC academy manager sounds in the offing - not had one since Brian McClair left in June: Chocs away.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 11, 2016
While the financial results are impressive, United's performances of late haven't been, and Louis van Gaal's side sit fifth in the Premier League—outside of the qualification places for next season's UEFA Champions League.
If nothing else, the latest quarterly results prove again just how valuable it is to be involved in Europe's premier club competition, a factor likely to increase the pressure on Van Gaal, per the Manchester Evening News' James Robson:
United's figures emphasise just how crucial the Champions League is - which will only pile more pressure on Van Gaal— James Robson (@JamesRobsonMEN) February 11, 2016
As noted by Harris: "Woodward didn't seem to mention manager—the key club staff member—by name once in call to financial analysts. No questions on Van Gaal."
However, failure to qualify for the Champions League could well see the Dutchman relieved of his duties this summer, with Jose Mourinho widely being reported as his likely successor, per David Anderson and Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.
Previous boss David Moyes was shown the door at Old Trafford in 2014 as soon as it was confirmed that Champions League qualification was impossible.
United sit six points back from fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League with 13 games remaining.