Two key facts have emerged this morning that reveal the true intentions of the Glazer family in relation to Manchester United’s transfer budget.
This summer’s transfer window was a frustrating one for fans – and presumably for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – as the club’s negotiators failed to land top target Jadon Sancho, who was available for €120 million from Borussia Dortmund.
In the end, United made five signings – Donny van de Beek from Ajax, who cost €39 million (around £35m), Alex Telles from FC Porto, who cost €15 million (around £13m), Edinson Cavani, who was a free transfer, Amad Diallo (£19m plus bonuses) and Facundo Pellistri (£8m). The total transfer spend was £75 million.
Chris Smalling was sold for €15 million (£13m), making the net spend for the summer just £62 million.
It left fans feeling that millions went unspent, but The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell sensationally revealed today that there was never money available for Sancho. His figures show that the transfer would never have happened even if Dortmund had been willing to negotiate.
‘[Head of corporate development Matt] Judge has been the one to relay United’s budget to intermediaries, which was this summer placed at a £50 million net spend,’ the reporter claims.
In other words, even without Sancho, United overspent the budget that they had been given by majority shareholders, the Glazer family.
‘United, ultimately governed by Joel Glazer, did not feel Sancho was worth Borussia Dortmund’s €120 million valuation but, through Judge, continued to keep lines of communication open until the dying embers of the window because the England winger was Solskjaer’s No 1 target,’ Whitwell writes.
In other words, there was never any negotiation. If the reporter’s facts and figures are correct, the only way that Sancho could ever have been bought would have been if United had sold players to make up the difference.
Let’s say, for example, that even if Dortmund had announced they would drop their asking price for Sancho from £107 million to £80 million and that United did not spend the £27 million spent on Diallo and Pellistri. They would still have had to raise £53 million by selling players. This was never going to happen.
The other depressing fact revealed by the reporter is that the budget is and was set according to how it might affect shareholder dividends rather than what is right from a footballing perspective.
‘There is an allegation from a respected source that money for signings is made available based on how it impacts the biannual dividends for shareholders,’ Whitwell says. It is a fact that would certainly explain why the powers-that-be at the club had to pretend to be in the market for a player that they never intended to buy this summer.
United have had some world class goalkeepers over the years and some entertaining ones too. Take our quiz below to find out how much you know about United’s number 1’s, past and present.