United ended the window last year without two priority targets amid interest in a central defender and a winger and Jose Mourinho warned United faced a ‘difficult’ season if they did not reinforce their defence. Despite a prolonged managerial bounce under Solskjaer, United shipped 54 Premier League goals in their worst top-flight defensive performance since 1978-79.
Diogo Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant arrived for a combined £72.5million last year – a drastic drop-off from the £140.9m United spent on Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic in 2017.
United have already confirmed the departures of Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera and are keen to offload Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Alexis Sanchez. The club are prepared to sign as many players that are sold in the upcoming window and Woodward reaffirmed his support for Solskjaer before his first window as permanent manager.
“It clearly didn’t end the way we hoped, finishing sixth place,” Woodward said on United’s quarterly three conference call. “And with a disruptive managerial change part way through.
“However, Ole and the squad battled back from December to be in contention to qualify for the Champions League next season but ultimately we came up short.
“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to have confirmed the appointment of Ole as our manager on a three-year contract, and to have confirmed key members of the coaching team: Mick Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mark Dempsey will all be remaining at the club.
“Everyone at the club – the board, the manager, the squad and all the staff are resolute in our desire to get United back to the top of English football, we continually look to improve staff on and off the pitch to achieve this.
“The strength of our business means we have the financial resources to continue to provide backing for the manager and creating success on the pitch. This – as ever – remains our number one goal.”
On the call, chief financing officer Cliff Baty confirmed United received £6.3million from Shandong Luneng for the sale of Marouane Fellaini in February. Managing director Richard Arnold added: “The app continues to perform ahead of expectations.”
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