Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Devils Unlikely to Make January Signings; OFCOM INVESTIGATE LEAGUE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Devils Unlikely to Make January Signings; OFCOM INVESTIGATE LEAGUE

Article excerpt

MANCHESTER United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has played down the chance of the club making new signings in January - despite concerns over the squad's strength in defence.

Woodward told investors the Red Devils had targets in mind but almost certainly for next summer - and that it was unlikely they would become available in the January transfer window.

He was speaking after the club revealed figures showing income dropped by almost 10 per cent in the first quarter of their financial year due to the absence from the Champions League.

Revenue for the three months ending September 30 was PS88.7million, down PS9.8million on the PS98.5million for the same period a year ago, a 9.9 per cent drop.

The fall in income could have been even greater but the cost of United's absence from European football has been partially compensated by an increase in sponsorship money and a drop in the players' wage bill.

Woodward, speaking on a conference call to investors, said confidence was high under new manager Louis van Gaal.

He said: "There's a real feeling we as a club are at the start of something special."

Asked whether United intended to strengthen the defence in January, Woodward added: "We are not looking to enter the market for short-term fixes.

"However, we have targets we are looking at for next summer and should any of those become available in January we would consider acting - but we all need to recognise that is a low probability."

United played two fewer matches in the quarter than in the equivalent three months in 2013-14 - one Champions League game and one Capital One Cup game - which led to a drop of PS4.2mil-lion (21.8 per cent) in matchday income to PS15.1million.

Broad-casting revenue was down PS2.5million (13 per cent) to PS16.8million with no TV money coming in from UEFA.

The club's debt, the source of much criticism from supporters' groups, was very slightly up at PS362.2million, while commercial income was up 5.2 per cent to PS59.9million, thanks to new sponsorship deals.

United's spending on employee benefits for the quarter fell by PS3. …

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