Woodward says Man Utd to back Solskjaer with ‘long-term’ summer transfers

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If you believe what Ed Woodward says, the plan is for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to remain Manchester United for quite some time with plenty of positive transfer news beginning next summer.

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Without directly commenting on the safety of Solskjaer’s position, Woodward reiterated on Thursday that Manchester United remain committed to repairing their status as one of the biggest clubs in the world, and they will do so by supporting Solskjaer with “a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows.”

“I told this forum back in April that we remained committed to strengthening the squad, while being disciplined in our spending during the pandemic. I believe we’ve delivered on that, with the additions we made during the summer taking our total net spending to over [$240 million] since summer 2019 — more than any other major European club over that period.

“We will continue to support Ole with a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows.”

To take Woodward’s comments at face value, you might hear that Manchester United remain fully committed to their current manager and expect him to remain in the post for quite some time to come.

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Spun another (more cynical) way, this is Woodward’s best effort at getting out in front of the transfer news-related criticism come January when the Manchester United would otherwise be expected to (at least try to) sign top superstar target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

Woodward, along with the most logical among us, will understand that a deal the size of Sancho to Manchester United is highly unlikely to occur during a January transfer window. With fewer players available for Dortmund to sign as Sancho’s replacement, they will be much less willing to lose him at that time without the Red Devils massively overpaying — and that’s something they are probably not able to do at this time.

When discussing a club or an individual’s “long-term plans,” it’s always worth considering both the words they speak, as well as how they might wish to change the narrative around themselves.