It has been claimed that Woodward told the manager that he will have to sell defenders if he wants to bring in replacements in January
Mourinho has been desperate to strengthen Manchester United’s backline since the end of last season and had even looked to bring in established defenders like Yerry Mina, Jerome Boateng, Harry Maguire and Diego Godin. Woodward, however, apparently did not hold up his end of the bargain and deals for all the above-mentioned names fell through, which left his manager deeply frustrated and occasionally venting it in public as well over the course of the ongoing season.
And it seems that Mourinho’s gripes and complaining has had an effect, with the United higher-ups sanctioning some money to be spent when the transfer window reopens, but with the caveat that Mourinho has to sell first, which has been conveyed to him by Woodward. This is according to the editor of the acclaimed United We Stand magazine Andy Mitten, who told the Beyond the Pitch podcast: “I think the club would like to give him money in January, because they know it will give a ‘sugar high’ but we’ve all learned that doesn’t really count for anything either.
“Alexis Sanchez came in he played the piano and it went viral and the figures were really good and the visibility and that’s all great and lots of the fans loved it, and some didn’t. But he hasn’t been a good player. His best performance was against Yeovil in the first match. Even if Manchester United do get a player in January — I think it would be welcomed, there’s money there — I do know that if he wants to bring in a defender he’s got to sell one of his first because he’s got so many. He’s got four established centre-halves, although you’d struggle to use the word established for any of them. He needs to get rid of one. But the problem they have is the players are so well paid, they can’t (get rid of them) because they’ve signed three or four-year contracts on the type of money you’re not going to get elsewhere.”
— Daily Record Sport (@Record_Sport) December 8, 2018
Mitten also made public that Woodward apparently had meetings with agents post the Champions League clash with Young Boys last week in preparation for the business to be done over the next few months. “Ed Woodward has been active with agents – he was with agents after the Young Boys game,” Mitten added. “Pretty prominent players with pretty prominent agents, but it’s very hard to get good players in January.”
That there would be money made available for Mourinho to use in January has been mooted for a while, and is no surprise, but the fact that Woodward and the board have asked him to clear some dead weight first is absolutely right and needs to be done. The squad has far too many players on perhaps undeserved salaries who can be shifted out so that the wage structure of the club can be balanced, while also helping inject extra cash for the managers’ shopping spree.