Manchester United ‘more confident than ever’ after Cristiano Ronaldo return, says Ed Woodward

Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo

Ed Woodward is “more confident than ever” that Manchester United’s recruitment strategy is on the right track after a summer transfer window that saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’s surprise return in a £19.8m deal from Juventus headlined United’s summer business, though long-term target Jadon Sancho was also finally secured in a £73m agreement with Borussia Dortmund.

In addition to Ronaldo and Sancho, the capture of World Cup-winning defender Raphael Varane in an initial £34m deal from Real Madrid has led expectations to soar, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hoping to win his first silverware in the job.

Woodward, who will step down from his role as executive vice-chairman at the end of the year, has previously faced criticism over United’s recruitment practices but believes a net summer spend of approximately £100m has left Solskjaer in a healthy position.

“We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton,” Woodward will tell investors on a call this afternoon, following the release of United’s 2020-21 financial results.

“These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch.”

Woodward will add: “We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.

“As part of this, we have continued to strengthen our recruitment and scouting processes, and we have also increased our investment in the academy, to ensure that this success is sustainable.

“While squad-building is a constant process, we are more confident than ever that we are on the right track.”

United have started the Premier League season strongly, sitting top with 10 points after four games, but suffered defeat away to Swiss champions Young Boys in their opening Champions League group on Tuesday evening.

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