London (AFP) – Manchester United have assured disgruntled fans that the club’s priority is success on the pitch rather than making money, saying they are committed to “winning trophies at the highest level”.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggling team lost 2-0 at West Ham on Sunday to fall 10 points behind leaders Liverpool after just six Premier League games.
United, who have been criticised for their focus on commercial success despite faltering performances, are languishing in eighth spot in the league, three points adrift of a top-four position.
They have not won the Premier League since 2013 and did not qualify for this season’s Champions League.
At a fans’ forum before the side’s 1-0 home victory against Leicester earlier this month, one of the concerns raised was the club’s apparent failure to attract top talent and the link with the recent lack of success.
In its response the club acknowledged that recruitment was crucial.
“We are committed to getting this right and there has been huge investment in this area to put our recruitment department into a position to be able to deliver the manager the players he wants,” the minutes of the meeting said.
“This process is significantly more effective than four to five years ago.”
United, who spent around £145 million ($180 million) on signing Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James in the summer transfer window, said the club would continue to invest.
“Everyone at the club, from the owners down, is focused on competing for and winning trophies at the highest level,” the club said. “To do that, we have invested heavily in the playing squad and will continue to do so.
“At the same time, the exciting pool of talent coming through from our youth and academy sections is a result of increased investment in this area over the last five years.
“It’s important to note that while our successful commercial operation helps drive that investment, the priority is the focus on achieving success on the pitch. Similarly, it is worth noting that we are not looking at or buying players based on their commercial appeal.”