Manchester United have moved to assure supporters that the club remain committed to “competing for trophies at the highest level” and success on the pitch comes before making money.
United, who lost 2-0 to West Ham on Sunday, won the last of their 20 league titles in 2013 and in the subsequent six seasons have been criticised for the way they have balanced commercial success with building a team capable of challenging for top honours.
But at a recent fans’ forum, United sought to address some of the supporter frustration, where they said the club is heading in the right direction.
“Everyone at the club, from the owners down, is focused on competing for and winning trophies at the highest level,” a United spokesman said. “To do that we have invested heavily in the playing squad and will continue to do so.
“At the same time, the exciting pool of talent coming through from our youth and academy sections is a result of increased investment in this area over the last five years. It’s important to note that while our successful commercial operation helps drive that investment, the priority is the focus on achieving success on the pitch.
“Similarly, it is worth noting that we are not looking at or buying players based on their commercial appeal. We agree that recruitment is critical. We are committed to getting this right and there has been huge investment in this area to put our recruitment department into a position to be able to deliver the manager the players he wants. This process is significantly more effective than four or five years ago.”
United have also hinted that they are still on the look out for a technical director. Sources have told ESPN FC that an in-depth search has been ongoing for nearly a year but the summer transfer window came and went without an appointment being made.
Asked about the search for a technical director at the fans’ forum, United said they are still open to changing the club’s structure but are happy with the way players are recruited following a summer which saw Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James arrive at Old Trafford.
“We are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side,” the club spokesman added. “Much of the speculation around this type of role focuses purely on recruitment.
“We’ve materially expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this runs in an efficient and productive way. Many of the senior staff in these roles have been at the club for over 10 years.
“Recruitment recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and the manager and his team, not senior management.
“We feel the players signed this summer demonstrate that this approach is the right one and any future appointment would complement this process. Regarding transfer budget, we have invested significantly in the squad and we will continue to do so.”