Manchester United director of football John Murtough insists the level of spending seen this summer will not be repeated by the club after the wage bill hit record highs.
In order to bolster new manager Erik ten Hag’s squad, the club bought Ajax pair Antony and Lisandro Martinez, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord, in addition to signing free agent Christian Eriksen.
In total, the expenditure has amounted to over £200million and it will only add pressure to a wage bill which is now the highest in the Premier League following last year’s signings of Cristiano. Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane saw wage costs jump 19.1%. an increase of £61.6m to £384.2m, for the year ending June.
Chief Financial Officer Cliff Baty said the pay rises were “in line with expectations”, but pointed out that the savings resulting from not paying bonus clauses for not qualifying for the Champions League would lead to a reduction in the year. next of “high numbers (millions).”
Nonetheless, increased wages have contributed to the club posting a net loss of £115.5m, £23m more than 12 months ago, for the 2021-22 season.
Murtough said transfers this summer were a one-off expense and, with United’s recruitment plans now ahead of schedule, the same level of activity was not expected in the future.
“During the summer we have made significant investments in the first team with the permanent addition of five regular starters, including a balance of experienced international players and younger emerging talent,” he said. in a conference call with investors after United announced a net loss of £115.5m for the 2021-22 season.
“We have also seen a higher than usual number of departures and that has been an equally important part of refreshing the squad after the disappointing 2021-22 season.
“We will continue to support Erik by ensuring he has players with the right quality and character to succeed, while ensuring that the investment remains in line with our commitment to financial sustainability.
“Overall, we are ahead of our recruitment plans envisaged at the beginning of the summer, and we do not anticipate the same level of activity over the next windows.
“As always, our planning is focused on the summer window.”
The recruitment of Ten Hag, whose first four months in charge “bodes well for the future” according to Murtough, has been expensive when all is considered.
United have spent £24.7million in payments to former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked in November, Ralf Rangnick, who did not take on a two-year advisory role at the end of the season after initially assumed the interim charge, and their associated coaching staff.
Despite an increase in revenue from £89.1m (18%) to £583m, the club’s net debt has also increased, from £419.5m in 2021 to £514.9m. sterling this year, an increase of more than 22%.
United put the majority of that £95.4m increase primarily to £64.6m of unrealized foreign exchange losses on the retranslation of US dollar borrowings.
Yet the club still paid out dividends of £33.6m.
Managing director Richard Arnold said that although last season was a disappointment, he was confident the investment made would bring about an improvement.
“Clearly our performance on the pitch finishing sixth in the Premier League last season fell short of our goals and expectations,” he said.
“Everyone at the club is aligned with a clear strategy to ensure sustainable success on the pitch and a sustainable business model off it, to the mutual benefit of fans, shareholders and other stakeholders.
“We believe that the building blocks for future success are being put in place, but we recognize that we still have a long way to go this season and beyond, and that success will not happen overnight. on the next day.
“As a club, we are moving forward.”
Part of this progress includes seeking improvements at Old Trafford, although the level of investment must be kept within current financial pressures.
“Earlier this year we appointed lead planners to explore options for potential redevelopment of our stadium and the club-owned grounds surrounding it,” Arnold added.
“We are at an early stage of a multi-year project and will continue to gather feedback and feedback from our fans.
“While remaining committed to investing in the stadium for the long term, we will be disciplined in our investment plans, which must be sustainable, and mindful of the macroeconomic pressures and inflationary environment currently affecting the UK and the economies. wider worlds.”