Bruno Fernandes training in Marbella

Woodward: Transfer process is on track

Manchester United’s board is viewing the next transfer window as an important opportunity, as the club continues to target its return to the top of English and European football.

As executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward explained, in introductory remarks read to the recent quarterly Fans’ Forum at Old Trafford, our permanent signing of Bruno Fernandes in January was effectively brought forward from the summer and further demonstrates that the club’s new recruitment process is working.

“Bruno Fernandes and the players we brought last summer are evidence that our process is the right one,”
said Ed.

“There has been no shortage of investment in players over the past few years, with over £200 million spent since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became our manager. Our aim is to ensure that we continue to achieve consistency in quality of recruitment.

“Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity. 
 
“We had consistently taken the view that - because January is not an optimal time in terms of availability of players - we would only buy in January if players we had already targeted for the summer became available and we were pleased that this strategy played out with the signing of Bruno Fernandes.”

While the Reds will continue to compete in 2019/20 for the FA Cup, Europa League and the Premier League’s top four places, now bolstered by Bruno Fernandes and the additional arrival of Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua, Ed acknowledged to the Fans’ Forum that
“we are not yet where we want to be.”


“It is the overwhelming priority of everyone at the club to get us back to regularly challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles,”
he added.
 
“Although progress may not always be smooth, everyone across the club is focused and committed on playing their part in helping achieve those aims.
 
“Significant work has already been done – and investments made – to strengthen the Academy and we’re pleased with the progress being made behind the scenes to ensure we have the right players, the right infrastructure, and the right culture to sustain long-term success.

“Similarly, there has been extensive work on our recruitment process, with considerable investment in scouting, data and analytics. The Recruitment Department is working to a clear plan and philosophy, along with Ole and his coaching staff. Our focus is on bringing in a combination of experience and the best young players with potential to develop further, fusing graduates from our Academy with high-quality acquisitions.

“It is important to note that the commercial elements of the club are geared to ensuring we have a self-sustaining model which supports investment in the playing side.”

As well as working to improve matchdays on the pitch, in terms of the team that Solskjaer can select, the club is also committed to enhancing them off the pitch too.
 
“We are continuously looking for ways to improve the experience of fans,”
Ed stated.

“From the £11m investment to transform facilities for disabled supporters at Old Trafford, improvements in security, engagement with fan groups around stadium atmosphere or a potential rail seating trial, to regular reviews of our matchday catering, the work is ongoing.”


To read more about the above, please see the minutes of the Fans’ Forum meeting held at Old Trafford on Friday 31 January 2020. The minutes of every meeting since February 2016 can be found at www.manutd.com/fansforum.

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