From the just-released Manchester United Opus:
“At Manchester United we’re mainly talking about buying new players, we’re not a selling club.
The profile of Manchester United is such that every time there’s a rumour about a top player considering a move in this country or abroad we are bound to be mentioned.
I don’t find that frustrating. I’d be concerned if we weren’t involved, because it sends a message about the best clubs and their position in football.
The only aspect that’s frustrating is that if it’s rumoured that Manchester United are involved, it ramps the price up.
Fortunately, our scouting set-up here is excellent. It’s had to be, because the worldwide search for talent is becoming more competitive.
Throughout the season, Alex and I have regular discussions about the squad, the senior players, the ones coming through from the reserves, the youngsters.
He works on a day-to-day basis with the scouting department discussing who we’re looking for, what positions.
We’ll have a discussion as to where we think we’re going to have to do things, either in the January transfer window or in the summer one. We’ll also look at the contracts of current players to see who we’d like to extend new contracts to if necessary, and whose contracts we’re going to allow to run down, then we target replacements.
I keep the owners informed as to those discussions in broad terms which positions we’re looking at. For each position we might have one, two, three players we’re looking at, and then I’ll give them broad parameters about what the transfer value might be or our assessment of that value and what we think the player’s wages would be.
Then we target the particular players, which involves speaking to the other clubs. Then you have agreement to speak to the agents and try to do the deal.
I’ll keep Alex informed about what’s going on throughout the negotiations and discussions, because ultimately we’re trying to do the best deal we can, but he’ll assess whether he thinks that player’s worth £10m, £15m or £20m.
Obviously, it’s not an open chequebook. There are the capital costs of the player, and then you have budgets on the wages that we have to adhere to each year. It’s not a science, it’s trying to get in players who want to come here at the cheapest possible price.”