According to CIES Football Observatory’s latest study, Manchester United have the highest net spend of any club in Europe’s top five leagues in the last decade.
An outlay of £903 million puts them clear of Manchester City and other high spending clubs, but this is primarily due to the lack of incoming fees for players, an issue that United fans have been lamenting for years.
Players are either sold for way under the fee that United paid for them or are stuck at the club long after they should have been sold due to their high wages or unrealistic valuations.
In fact, since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, only three players have been sold for more than United paid for them, which is Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Daniel James.
It is an unsustainable transfer strategy and one they must seek to rectify under John Murtough and Ralf Rangnick, and it seems that the early signs are promising.
First, the aforementioned James was sold to Leeds for a profit, and though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have preferred to keep the winger, the deal was deemed too good to turn down given the players struggles to make the step up from the Championship.
And now, the unexpected sale of Andreas Pereira may prove that James positive sale was not just a flash in the pan. Though an academy prospect, the sale of the Brazilian midfielder will come as a shock to many.
Pereira is currently on loan at Flamengo, where he seems to have finally found his level and is impressing for the Brazillian outfit. So much so that the club are willing to pay £12m for his services from him, plus a clause that would see United receive 25% of any future fee that the club receive for the player.
Pereira exemplifies one of the players mentioned previously who seemed destined to stay at United until his contract eventually expired, and then he would fade from the fanbases memory without a second thought.
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But the £12 million received from his sale will hopefully go towards the club’s summer transfer budget and, with several other players who need to be moved on shortly, acts as a good omen for things to come.
The past mismanagement of the club’s finances and dealings in the transfer market can not be changed now. Still, under new guidance and with a much more focused strategy, United can hopefully find itself in a much more favorable position in the next ten years.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.