Woodward reiterates determination to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in bid to win silverware: "As I said before and I've said this many times - we remain committed to backing Ole to win trophies"
Thursday 30 April 2020 14:12, UK
Manchester United can remain “highly competitive” in the summer transfer window, despite Ed Woodward conceding the club are not “immune” to the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Woodward, the club's executive vice-chairman, admitted last week he does not envisage it will be "business as usual" in the window at Old Trafford.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Sky Sports earlier this month that the club would be active, amid reported interest in England duo Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho due to their financial might.
Revenues of £627.1m for 2018-19 saw United remain one of the richest clubs in the world, but Woodward is uncomfortable about the club being linked with big-money signings amid football's shutdown.
"It feels somewhat inappropriate to see speculation about transfers for hundreds of millions in current circumstances," Woodward said at a Manchester United fans' forum.
"There's a big disconnect between those stories and the economic realities facing football clubs in general
"Clearly it's true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.
"I would say that once we have that visibility of a path through the crisis and coming out of the other side to relative normality, then of course, we aim to remain highly competitive in the market."
Solskjaer, who steered his side to an unbeaten 11-game run in all competitions prior to the suspension of football in March, is bidding to lead United to a return to Champions League qualification.
United, who signed Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January for a deal which could rise to £68m, are also vying for silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League as the Norwegian targets the first trophy of his tenure.
Woodward added: "As I said before and I've said this many times - we remain committed to backing Ole to win trophies.
"That's our core objective as a club."
Manchester United have been granted permission to trial around 1,500 barrier seats at Old Trafford.
The Premier League will hold further talks on Friday as it targets a return behind closed doors in June, should Government approval be reached ahead of their next review of lockdown restrictions on May 7.
Detailed planning continues under a 'Project Restart' programme and Woodward is hopeful the season will resume, despite France's decision to ban sporting events until September on Tuesday.
Speaking about the prospect of playing without fans, he said: "We're not necessarily happy about that, clearly football requires our fans in the stadium for it to be complete, but public health must come first - and as I said, this is down to the Government.
"It's important to get back to playing football and complete this season once it's safe to do so…we are starting to see some other countries make positive steps in this direction such as Germany.
"From a UK perspective there is still huge uncertainty."