Sunday 16 December 2018

Alexis Sanchez has already set a new record at Manchester United as Ed Woodward reveals rising profits

Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United
Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United
Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez. Photo: Reuters

Alexis Sanchez has proved to be a highly popular signing in his first few weeks at Manchester United, with the club confirming he has set a new record for shirt sales and social media interactions.

Sanchez made a highly publicised move from Arsenal to United last month and was handed the iconic No.7 shirt that has been worn by Old Trafford greats such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The combination of Sanchez and No.7 has proved to be a huge commercial success in the weeks since the move, with United CEO Ed Woodward suggesting the reported £500,000-a-week salary being paid to the Chilean is well within the club's budget.    

"Alexis Sanchez has set a new January signing record in terms of shirt sales - three times that previous record," declared Woodward. "This trade (Sanchez's signing) generated some interesting social media stats.

"It was the biggest United post on Instagram with two million likes and comments, the most shared United Facebook post ever, the most retweeted United post ever and #Alexis7 was the number one trending topic on Twitter worldwide.

"To put all that into context, the announcement posts generated 75 per cent more interaction than the sale of the world's most expensive player last summer when Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG."

It is a sign of changing times in the game that clubs celebrate social media success with almost as much gusto as three Premier League points, with Woodward also confirming United's commercial income is continuing to rise after a month that also saw them hand manager Jose Mourinho a contract extension.

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"Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the club with the extension of Jose Mourinho's contract as manager and the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez," he stated. "We look forward to the remainder of the season with confidence."

Woodward also gave an insight into the ongoing discussions over the next Premier League television contract, with Amazon and Facebook rumoured to be rivalling Sky and BT Sport for the next round of rights.

"I need to be careful around this - it's a very sensitive point in time," he added. "The first round of domestic bids is due in tomorrow. All I can really say is if you look at past history we would expect the entire process of selling the domestic rights will conclude in a relatively short period of time, in a couple of weeks."

Woodward was happy to state that he expects the Premier League rights to continue growing however, declaring: "Reports of the death of live sport are greatly exaggerated.

"I've just come from a Premier League meeting where research shows that the league's global cumulative audience has increased nine per cent year-on-year, with particularly strong increases in Asia and North America."

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