Manchester United’s director of football, John Murtaug, insists the club will not repeat its spending level this summer after the wage bill hit record levels.
United bought Anthony, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Terrell Malacia and signed free agent Christian Eriksen to back the team for Erik ten Hag. Spending was more than £200m and this will add pressure to the wage bill which is the highest in Premier League History Having signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane the previous year saw salary costs rise 19.1%, an increase of £61.6m to £384.2m, for the financial year ending in June. This number exceeds the previous figure set by Manchester City (£355m).
United’s chief financial officer, Cliff Bate, said these wage increases were “in line with expectations” and that savings from not having to pay Champions League qualification bonuses would cut “high single digits” next year in the millions. However, the wage increase contributed to the club incurring a net loss of £115.5m, an increase of £23m over the previous 12 months, for the 2021-22 season.
Although revenue rose by £89.1m (18%) to £583m, the club’s net debt has also increased, from £419.5m in 2021 to £514.9m this year, an increase of more than 22%. United put the majority of that £95.4 million increase in first place to £64.6 million of unrealized foreign exchange losses on reconversion of US dollar loans. The club is still paying a dividend of £33.6m.
“We will continue to support Eric in ensuring he has players of the right quality and character to succeed, while ensuring that the investment remains consistent with our commitment to financial sustainability,” said Murtog. “Overall, we are ahead of schedule in our staffing plans as expected at the beginning of the summer, and we do not expect the same level of activity in future windows. As always, our planning is focused on the summer window.”
United spent £24.7m on salaries for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked as manager in November, Ralf Rangnick, who did not take a two-year advisory role at the end of the season after initially taking temporary charge, and the associated coaching staff.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust claimed that the Glazers reward failure to share profits. “There is nothing wrong in principle with companies paying dividends to owners but there should be no rewards for failure and that’s what we’re seeing here,” Most said.
“At a football club, we believe dividends should only be paid when there is financial success and success on the pitch. Through the Fan Advisory Board and Fan Forum, Must representatives will now call for an urgent review of the club’s dividend policy.”