Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed the club are budgeting for a third-place finish in the Premier League this season.
Woodward made the comments while speaking on a conference call to investors following the release of the club’s latest financial figures, which showed record annual revenue of £433.2m and profits of £23.8m for the year 2013/2014.
Louis van Gaal was brought in to replace David Moyes after a disastrous 2013/2014 campaign in which United finished seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995 but, despite a poor start to the current season, Woodward remains upbeat.
“The 2013/14 season was a very challenging and disappointing one. But under Louis [van Gaal] there is a real feeling at the training ground that we are at the start of something special.”
“We assume third [place] in our budgets,” he said when asked about the Reds’ expectations for this season.
United splashed in excess of £150m on new arrivals this summer – but Woodward confirmed further funds would be made available if Van Gaal wants to add more players in January.
“We will continue to monitor, together with Louis, his view of the squad and continue to make assessments as to which areas of the squad we want to strengthen and, by extension, which areas we would look to sell,” Woodward said.
“We feel like we’ve got to a level now where we’ve got a stable number back in the squad. We guided that usually three in, three out is par for the course every year and those typically are in the summer.
Manchester United Chief Executive Ed Woodward has told club investors that he is confident of a top three finish.
“But as we’ve demonstrated, if there is a willingness from the manager to do something, we will engage with him and see if there’s something we can deliver.
“If January is the opportunity then you have to take it when it comes like we did last year with Juan Mata.
“The 2013/14 season was a very challenging and disappointing one. But under Louis [van Gaal] there is a real feeling at the training ground that we are at the start of something special.
“I’m confident with Louis as our manager, with a clear philosophy and a reinvigorated squad; we will get back to challenging for the title and trophies.