United poised to open vault

Updated: 2014-07-25 07:34

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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Manchester United is prepared to break transfer records in order to give new manager Louis van Gaal the players he wants, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The English giant has already spent over $85 million on England leftback Luke Shaw and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, and Woodward said the club is ready to spend even more.

Some of United's European rivals have spent big recently. Real Madrid on Tuesday signed James Rodriguez from Monaco for a fee of around $107.4 million, while Barcelona paid Liverpool around $127.8 million for Luis Suarez.

Asked if United was able to pay a similar amount for a player, Woodward said: "It is in our capabilities. The club is not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market."

United, which whipped the LA Galaxy 7-0 on Wednesday, is rebuilding under Van Gaal after a dismal 2013-14 season and Woodward said the club has no qualms about sanctioning big-money signings.

"Whether it's a record or not doesn't really resonate with us," he added, in comments reported by the British media on Wednesday.

"What resonates is a top, top elite player that the manager wants that is going to be a star for Manchester United. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings.

"I get pointed in the direction of a target that the manager wants and there is an assessment of what that might cost and I'll negotiate hard to do the best I can on the trade."

United has been linked with a host of players in recent weeks, including Germany centerback Mats Hummels, Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, and the Dutch trio of Daley Blind, Stefan de Vrij and Kevin Strootman.

Woodward endured a trying first offseason last year when United missed out on a succession of major targets, and he said he still needs to prove his worth to the club's supporters.

"You gain credibility through experience and through time," said the former investment banker.

"You can't expect credibility from day one and I wouldn't ask that of the fans. You keep learning on the job and I'll continue to learn for a long period of time.

(China Daily 07/25/2014 page24)