Manchester United supremo hits back at 'insulting' criticism

Ed Woodward has hit back at critics of Manchester United’s transfer policy amid a tumultuous period for the Old Trafford club.

The executive vice-chairman is often seen as the man pulling the strings behind the scenes and has been blamed for the raft of failed signings in recent years, including the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.

The fact that the 47-year-old comes from a non-footballing background has often led to greater criticism from the stands.

But Woodward rounded his critics, stating it is a ‘myth’ and ‘insulting’ to think that anyone outside of their recruitment department is involved in identifying signings.

"There is a myth that we have non-football people making football decisions," he said. "I think that is insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club."

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Woodward has been widely criticised for his perceived role in transfers since 2013. (Credit: Getty Images)
United have struggled to rediscover the dominance they enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson (Credit: Getty Images)

"We've expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way.

"Player recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and by the first-team manager and his staff, not by senior management."

United splashed the cash last summer, spending more than £140million to bring Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

All three are young British players, a now seemingly a key criteria for the Premier League giants. It is in stark contrast to signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2016), Falcao (2014) and Alexis Sanchez (2018), who were all signed seemingly in the autumn of their careers.

"The changes we saw over the summer have resulted in a very young squad," added Woodward.

"But it's also a squad, with the players and the culture, that provides a base camp for us to build and grow from as we start our new journey."

Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (both right) have been two positives in what is shaping up to be another frustrating season in Manchester. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also come under fire with United languishing in 12th place in the league with just two wins from eight to their name.

The former United striker and Norway international enjoyed a brilliant start last December after replacing Jose Mourinho on a temporary basis - winning 14 of his first 19 games at the helm.

That convinced the Old Trafford hierarchy to name him permanent manager in March, but following a last-gasp 3-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, they only won two of their remaining 12 games last season.

The fact they have endured their worst start to a league season in 30 years, alongside Solskjaer’s less-than-impressive managerial record to date, has led to question marks over his suitability for the role.

Woodward still backs Solskjaer to turn things around at Old Trafford. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

But Woodward backed Solskjaer to rediscover that initial surge of form which had fans briefly dreaming of success again.

"The middle section of last season, after Ole's arrival, feels most relevant to what we want to achieve and where we want to be," said Woodward.

"We saw a team playing fast, fluid football, with a clear representation of the style and philosophy the manager wants.

"Ole has also instilled the discipline back into an environment where we may have lacked it in recent years. He is building a squad that respects the club's history, in which players work hard and respect their team-mates.

“No-one is bigger than the club."

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