Sunday 15 December 2019

Gill insists United can still reach for stars

Rory Smith

Manchester United chief executive David Gill insists they can still attract the world's biggest stars to Old Trafford despite refusing to alter their wage structure to match the fortunes on offer at Manchester City.

The transfer and wage policy under the ownership of the Glazers came under scrutiny last week as Wayne Rooney -- who is likely to be fit for the Manchester derby on November 10 -- attributed his reluctance to sign a new deal at the club to United's apparent lack of ambition when competing to sign top players.

Though Rooney was subsequently persuaded to stay, United have found themselves consistently outspent by the likes of City, thanks to the petrodollars pumped into the club by Sheikh Mansour, and Real Madrid.

Thanks to the extravagance of their Abu Dhabi-based backers, City's wage bill this year overtook United's for the first time, but Gill is adamant there is no need for the club to abolish what he feels is the best long-term policy to ensure United remain competitive.

"I am not concerned, as ever since we have been a public company we have had a policy that wages should be 50pc or less of turnover. We believe we can do that and still retain and attract the stars we need," he said.

"We think that is the sensible model. Clubs have other models, and that is their prerogative. Each to their own."

United's latest financial figures earlier this month revealed that the club's wage bill is £131.7m. Chelsea's is £142m, City's £133.3m and Arsenal are fourth with £110m spent annually on salaries.

United's total wages are 46pc of turnover -- the lowest ratio among Premier League clubs. Arsenal have the next lowest ratio on 49pc, while City spend more on wages than their total revenue. Gill's confidence that United will continue to offer sufficient money to retain the services of their biggest stars is not only borne out by Rooney's decision to remain at Old Trafford, but by the forthcoming agreement expected between the club and Patrice Evra.

Evra's current deal expires in June 2012 -- as Rooney's did before he signed a five-year contract after the farrago over his future last week -- but he is expected to agree terms on a new four-year offer, which would keep him at the club until he is 33.

The Frenchman, who arrived in 2006, has made it clear he is happy to stay at United and his advisors are due in Manchester in the coming days to finalise the contract. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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