Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be backed in the summer transfer market in a bid to get the club back to the top of English football.
Solskjaer is embarking on a major rebuild at Old Trafford after United finished sixth in the Premier League table and executive vice-chairman Woodward has suggested the club will be able to provide the necessary financial backing to improve the squad ahead of next season.
“After a turbulent season, everyone at Manchester United is focused on building towards the success that this great club expects and our fans deserve,” Woodward said, as United announced their third quarter financial results yesterday.
“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”
United finished 32 points behind champions Manchester City and, more significantly, five points off the top four to miss out on a place in next season’s Champion League.
Solskjaer started his reign with 14 wins from his first 17 games but ended the season with just two victories from the final 12 games.
It has increased the pressure on the Norwegian just two months after he was appointed as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor but Woodward has insisted the 46-year-old has his backing.
“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to have confirmed the appointment of Ole as our manager on a three-year contract and to have confirmed that key members of the coaching team — Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mark Dempsey — will all be remaining at the club,” Woodward said.
“The season clearly didn’t end the way we had hoped, finishing in sixth place and with a disruptive managerial change part way through. However, Ole and the squad battled back from mid-December to put us in contention to qualify for the Champions League next season but ultimately we came up short.”
United have not challenged for the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson lifted the trophy in his final season in charge in 2013 and have finished outside the top four for the fourth time in six years since the Scot retired.
Solskjaer’s overhaul of the squad — which could see as many as six players leave and five coming in — is likely to cost more than £200 million but Woodward said money is available to return United to the top.
“Everyone at the club — the board, the manager, the squad and all the staff — are resolute in our desire to get United back to the top of English football,” he said. “We continually look to improve staff on and off the pitch to achieve this.
“The strength of our business means we have the financial resources to continue to provide a solid foundation for backing the manager and creating success on the pitch.
“This, as ever, remains our No.1 goal.” — espn.com