Criticism of Manchester United transfer strategy an insult to club: Woodward

Champions League - Basel vs Manchester United

(Reuters) - Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said it is an insult to the club to suggest non-footballing staff are making major football decisions.

United have come under fire for their transfer strategy in the close season when six senior players were moved on, either permanently or on loan, with only three new players coming in at a cost of some 145 million pounds ($186.27 million).

Currently 12th in the table, United did not reinforce their attack following the departures of forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the summer and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said they were "one or two players light" with new signings expected in January.

Solskjaer's side have scored only nine goals in eight league games this season, while leaders Liverpool have scored 20 and second-placed Manchester City have 27.

"There is a myth that we have non-football people making football decisions," Woodward said at the club's annual staff meeting. "I think that is insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club.

"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. Some of our scouts have worked with us for more than 25 years."

Woodward also defended Solskjaer, who has come under fire for United's poor start to the season.

"Ole has also instilled the discipline back into an environment where we may have lacked it in recent years," Woodward said.

"After Ole's arrival ... we saw a team playing fast, fluid football, with a clear representation of the style and philosophy the manager wants.

"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."

United host Liverpool on Sunday.


(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)