Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has clarified the position over his summer transfer budget and clearly suggested that it will be adjusted according to whether the Red Devils qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Speaking at the Norwich City pre-match press conference, the manager began by making it clear that United would take their time before entering the transfer market.
‘I still think we need to wait and see how things are panning out to know the real effects of the pandemic, to know what kind of financial state we are in,’ he said.
‘You see some teams invest, some teams don’t. We’ll have to take a big look at things ourselves to see how hard we’ve been hit.
It is a different story from the upbeat one Solskjaer delivered a few weeks ago in April, when he said ‘There might just be a situation there where you can exploit, and I know that we at Man United are one of the biggest, and the biggest, financially well-off.
‘I’m sure we are capable, when we get back to normality, that we can do the business that we want to.’
Now, the manager is not talking about how United are one of the biggest and most well-off and instead saying he doesn’t know how badly they have been affected by COVID-19.
‘It’s not for me to say here now we are going to have X amount [to spend] because I don’t really know. I don’t really know how hard we have been hit.
‘I know the club has announced a few numbers before. It’s not for me to say here now we are going to have X amount because I don’t really know.
‘I don’t really know how hard we have been hit. We are a financially strong club, but we are also probably being hit more than anybody else.’
Then came the comment suggesting that Champions League qualification will be crucial to the transfer budget.
‘Let’s see how quickly we can get our fans back into the stadium and of course the league position is going to be important for us this season.
‘If we can get a trophy, the FA Cup or the Europa League. The Europa League will also qualify us for the Champions League, there’s still a lot of uncertainty and these three or four months, every businessman in the world, every footballer in the world, I think everyone is still unsure what the effect will be.’
United have two chances to qualify for the Champions League, by finishing in the top five of the Premier League (which could be reduced to four if Man City’s appeal against their UEFA ban is upheld) or by winning the Europa League.
The outcome of the first may not be known before July 26th and the Europa League final is not until 21st August. It looks therefore as if there might be a considerable delay before any significant transfer activity is seen at Old Trafford.
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