Woodward: Manchester United can afford to break world transfer record

The Red Devils' executive vice-chairman believes they have the financial clout to smash Gareth Bale's €100 million transfer and says they remain the biggest club in the world
Ed Woodward says Manchester United can afford to break the world transfer record of €100 million as the club seek to bolster their squad ahead of the 2014-15 season.

The Red Devils, now under the management of Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, have already spent over €70m on left-back Luke Shaw and midfielder Ander Herrera this summer.

Executive vice-chairman Woodward says they are willing to spend big money in order to recruit further marquee signings - and could perhaps eclipse the fee Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale last summer - with the club currently preparing a €54m bid for Juventus star Arturo Vidal.

"It's difficult to deal in hypotheticals based on lots of different things," Woodward is quoted as saying by The Guardian. "The reality is that we're not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market.

"Whether it's a record or not doesn't really resonate with us. What resonates is an elite player that the manager wants who is going to be a star for Manchester United."

In addition to the acquisitions of Shaw and Herrera, United paid a club-record £37.5m (€45m) to sign Juan Mata from Chelsea in January and Woodward insists the club are capable of eclipsing that figure again this summer.

"Of course it's in our capabilities," he said. "You guys think about the money in a way that I don't. 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.

"I stand by what I said – there is no budget. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings. That doesn't mean we go and throw money around. Louis is the manager."

Woodward says the club are actively scouting a number of players in the transfer market, though Van Gaal will have the final say on signings, while he is confident Old Trafford remains an appealing destination.

"We have had a lot of scouting output through the last 12 months, flagging up various things to us," Woodward added. "Louis is the one that makes the ultimate decision around who he wants in the squad. I'm not going to force feed him with a player that he hasn't selected.

"We're still looking at options. We're not sitting on our hands waiting for Louis. He is very good at communicating clearly what he wants.

"What the deal shows and what we're seeing with everything we're doing from a commercial perspective, talking to agents, talking from a player's perspective about wanting to come to us, we are the biggest club in the world, there's no question about that."