Thursday 19 September 2019

Unhappy Sanchez main reason for United's soaring wages bill

Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez. Photo: PA
Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez. Photo: PA

James Ducker

The eye-watering cost of Manchester United's move for Alexis Sanchez was underlined yesterday as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward claimed Jose Mourinho and the players were "fully united" in their bid to arrest the club's dismal start to the season.

United's latest quarterly accounts showed that the wage bill had jumped by more than 10pc - predominantly owing to Sanchez's salary.

The Chile striker arrived from Arsenal in January on a deal worth £350,000 a week, rising to £500,000 with bonuses and image rights, and the impact of that was reflected in a 10.2pc hike in the wage bill to £77m for the three months to September 30 this year.

United have seen little return on the field, however, and Sanchez (right) is said to be seeking an exit route only 10 months into his four-year contract.

The Chilean was dropped for last Sunday's 3-1 loss to Manchester City, which left United languishing in eighth place, 12 points adrift of the Premier League leaders, and he is reported to be cutting a lonely, isolated figure.

Sanchez is just one of numerous United players struggling for form, and whose relationship with Mourinho has been questioned, but Woodward was adamant that all parties are working together to try to get their season back on track.

Speaking on an investor call, Woodward said: "On the pitch, we remain well positioned in the Champions League and, although we've had a mixed start to our domestic campaign, the squad and manager are fully united in their determination to regain our momentum in the Premier League."

Woodward highlighted "investment in the first-team squad" and contract renewals for Marouane Fellaini and Luke Shaw as evidence of United's financial strength and long-term plan for success and growth.

United's revenues fell to £135m compared to the prior year - a decrease of 6.1pc that they say was due to a shorter pre-season tour and fewer games at Old Trafford at the start of the season.

The club still expects to post record end-of-year revenues of between £615m and £650m, but their gross debt stands at £492m more than 13 years on from the Glazer family's leveraged buy-out of the club for a debt of £525m.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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