Football: Manchester United will spend to rebuild struggling team, says Woodward

Manchester United's Scottish manager David Moyes looks on during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on Feb 12, 2014. English football champions Manchester United will
Manchester United's Scottish manager David Moyes looks on during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on Feb 12, 2014. English football champions Manchester United will ramp up spending on new players to improve their ailing squad and boost the team's chances of winning the trophies that have been key to their financial success. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - English football champions Manchester United will ramp up spending on new players to improve their ailing squad and boost the team's chances of winning the trophies that have been key to their financial success.

United, slumped in seventh place in the Premier League in a tough debut campaign for new manager David Moyes, on Wednesday posted an 11.6 per cent rise in second-quarter revenue, showing their on-pitch difficulties had not yet effected business.

The club said they would invest to ensure they could compete for top honours and the TV and sponsorship windfalls that come with them. United signed Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata for a club record fee of 37.1 million pounds (S$78.2 million) in January but still need reinforcements in defence and a commanding midfielder.

"We aren't afraid of moving in the market in a way that perhaps we haven't seen in recent years. Historically we've had roughly three sales and three purchases each year and it's possible that we will do more than that," Ed Woodward, executive vice-chairman said, adding everyone from Moyes down had acknowledged their poor league position.

He said that he could not give the likely range of spending, but added that some players would be sold this summer and that youth players would continue to be nurtured at the club.

The club, which last year won a record 20th Premier League title in Alex Ferguson's last season as manager, are 16 points off leaders Chelsea with more than half the season gone and are in danger of missing out on a place in the lucrative Champions League for the first time since 1995.

Asked what financial impact missing out on a Champions League spot this season would have on the club, Woodward said their global fan base and commercial pull would see them cope.

United's second quarter results provided a bright spot in the team's gloomy season, with revenue for the last three months of 2013 rising to 122.9 million pounds, in line with analyst forecasts, thanks to rising TV and commercial deals.

Adjusted core earnings before charges such as interest and tax was 1.6 per cent ahead at 51 million pounds for the period, the club said, adding it was on course to hit targets for the fiscal year to end-June.

Broadcasting and commercial sales both rose almost 19 per cent in the quarter, with the club activating six sponsorship deals in the period including with Fuji TV and Banif Bank.

Despite the poor form, United are set for a big rise in turnover as benefits roll in from improved Premier League TV contracts and new sponsorship deals. The club is forecasting revenue for the current season of between 420 million and 430 million pounds, up from 363 million pounds last season.

Their finances could soon be further boosted by a new kit supply deal. The club, owned by the American Glazer family, said they were in talks with several sportswear companies, including existing supplier Nike, about replacing their current contract that expires next year.

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