Manchester United’s horrific start to the Premier League season caused the club’s owners to add over £100 million to the transfer budget, according to a new report.
United, under new manager Erik ten Hag, were bottom of the league after an opening day defeat at home to Brighton followed by a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford.
And according to The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell, this ignominious start led to a change of heart over how much would be invested in the squad.
“Multiple sources say the original budget outlined in May, as Ten Hag took the reins, was £120m,” Whitwell says.
“The gear shift to a figure nearly twice that size is particularly pronounced and all the more notable because it came after a disastrous start to the campaign.”
In the end, the total spent on transfers reached £229 million, the most in the club’s history.
Whitwell reports that the Brentford defeat was the catalyst for United’s moves for both Casemiro and Antony.
“It had long been communicated that United would only be able to afford one player of that value, but both joined for a combined outlay of £155.5m,” the reporter claims.
It had been widely reported that previously, United had pulled out of the Antony deal due to deeming his price too high.
“In late July, Antony was not regarded as an option due to Ajax’s demands,” Whitwell confirmed.
The picture painted by The Athletic is one of a sudden change of heart over the budget by majority shareholder Joel Glazer, although the outlet’s sources have expressed some doubts about where the extra funds have come from.
There is concern that the club’s debt has been increased via the partial sale of the club to unscrupulous venture capitalists.
But the positive element of the story is that despite the bad start, the board have seen something in the new manager that has encouraged them to back him all the way.
“Essentially United are all in on Ten Hag,” Whitwell concludes. And after years of steering a rudderless ship, that must bode well for the club’s future.
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