John Murtough makes transfer promise to Erik ten Hag despite ruling out another Man Utd big spend

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Erik ten Hag, John Murtough, Mitchell van der Gaag Crystal Palace v Man Utd May 2022 Credit: PA Images
Erik ten Hag, John Murtough, Mitchell van der Gaag Crystal Palace v Man Utd May 2022 Credit: PA Images

Manchester United’s football director John Murtough insists the level of spending seen this summer will not be repeated by the club after the wage bill hit record levels.

In order to bolster the squad for Erik ten Hag, the club bought Ajax pair Antony and Lisandro Martinez. Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro also arrived, along with Tyrell Malacia and free agent Christian Eriksen.

In total the outlay was more than £200million and that will only add pressure to a wage bill which is now the highest in the Premier League after the previous year’s signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane saw salary costs leap 19.1 per cent, a rise of £61.6m to £384.2m, for the financial year ending in June.

Chief financial officer Cliff Baty said those wage increases were “in line with expectations”. But he stressed savings as a result of not paying bonus clauses for failing to qualify for the Champions League would result in a reduction next year of “high single digits (of millions).”

Nevertheless, the wage increase contributed to the club making a net loss of £115.5m. That is some £23m higher than 12 months previously, for the 2021-22 season.

Murtough still promises to back Ten Hag

Murtough said this summer’s transfers represented exceptional spending and, as United’s recruitment plans were now ahead of schedule, the same level of activity was not expected in future.

“During the summer, we made significant investment in the first-team squad with the permanent addition of five regular starters, including a balance of experienced international players and younger, emerging talent,” he told a conference call with investors after United announced a net loss of £115.5million for the 2021-22 season.

“We also saw a higher-than-usual number of departures. And this was an equally-important part of refreshing the squad after the disappointing 2021-22 season.

“We will continue to support Erik in ensuring he has players with the right quality and characters to achieve success. While ensuring that investment remains consistent with our commitment to financial sustainability.

“Overall, we are ahead of schedule in our recruitment plans as envisaged at the start of the summer. And we do not anticipate the same level of activity in future windows.

“As always, our planning focuses on the summer window.”

Arnold expects United improvement

Chief executive Richard Arnold said while last season had been a disappointment on the pitch he was confident the investment made would bring about improvement.

“Clearly our on-pitch performance in finishing sixth in the Premier League last season fell short of our aims and expectations,” he said.

“Everyone at the club is aligned on a clear strategy to deliver sustained success on the pitch. And a sustainable economic model off it, to the mutual benefit of fans, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

“We believe the building blocks for future success are being put in place. But we acknowledge that there is still much more for us to do this season and beyond. And that success will not happen overnight.

“As a club, we are moving forward.”

United are back in Premier League action on October 2 when they head to neighbours Manchester City.

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