Woodward defends Man Utd transfer policy

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has defended the club’s record in the transfer market after being asked why the Red Devils cannot match the achievements of Leicester City’s low-cost Premier League leaders.

The Foxes currently sit five points clear of the field with 13 games to play, despite assembling their squad for less than £40 million in transfer outlay.

In comparison, United have committed over £300m to transfers since Louis van Gaal became manager in the summer of 2014, with high-profile big-money signings such as Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Anthony Martial being brought in with varying degrees of success.

And Woodward was questioned by investors on Thursday after the club announced its financial results for the second quarter of the fiscal year, with one inquisitor asking why United cannot follow the Leicester model in the quest for success.

“Leicester is a fantastic reference point for everybody this year,” Woodward replied. “I think the philosophy that we have is to target quality of players based on the huge amount of scouting that we do and analysis within the training ground. Then we try to do the best deal that we can.

“Some players are bought by other clubs with an eye to them developing into something special in a few years’ time, whereas there’s a bit more pressure perhaps on the bigger clubs to bring in players that are going to be hitting the ground running, and top players verging on world class almost immediately.

“So there is a slightly different market perhaps in which people are buying.”

While United posted record revenue in the three months ending December 2015, the club’s decline on the pitch has had fans asking questions relating to the future of Van Gaal and some of his players.

United are 12 points behind Leicester in fifth place in the Premier League table, still six points shy of the Champions League play-off spot.

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