Man Utd transfer focus - Glazer ownership shackling success at Old Trafford
The attention of Manchester United supporters has once again been firmly focused upon the Glazer family. The American owners, who assumed control seven years ago through a hostile leveraged takeover, are looking to sell shares in the Old Trafford club on the New York Stock Exchange. It was initially promised that all proceeds from the initial public offering (IPO) would be used to pay down some of United's debt, which stood at £437m at the end of June. The huge indebtedness of the club has long been linked with a shackling of Sir Alex Ferguson in the transfer market.
The Glazers, however, have reneged on the commitment to use all proceeds from the IPO to help relieve the debt burden. The Guardian has reported that the family stand to take for themselves a little shy of £100m. This notion is repulsive for United's supporters, who, according to financial analyst Andy Green, have seen £520m taken out of the club since the takeover in 2005, £38m of which has gone directly to the Glazers.
There can be little doubt that the money haemorrhaging out of Old Trafford has affected transfer policy in the last seven years. The sum of £38m alone represents the size of fee that top players are commanding, an example being neighbours City's signing of Sergio Agüero for that exact amount. United, meanwhile, have adopted a policy of signing for lesser amounts youngsters with the potential to improve, rather than recruiting established stars.
Green, author of the andersred blog, stated the share offering "will save around £5m a year in interest." He went on to qualify this figure by claiming "that is barely enough to buy a new trainee for the academy." The blog claims £250k per day leaves the club thanks to interest payments - the equivalent to the weekly salary that top players in the country are currently receiving.
All this money has been exiting the club while supporters have been subjected to an average increase in the cost of their season tickets of 55%, according to the andersred blog. Players such as Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Eden Hazard are widely accepted to have slipped through Ferguson's net, as an age of austerity has hit Old Trafford.
The Scot's complaints of lack of value in the market and high agent’s fees are increasingly falling upon deaf ears with fans, who would be dismayed should their team fail to bring in either of the two high profile players they have bid for this summer. The Daily Mail is reporting that an Italian agent claims Robin van Persie will sign for Juventus, while ESPN believe that Inter have agreed a fee with Sao Paulo for Lucas Moura.
Should United miss out on these two players, the impact of the Glazer family ownership would be clearly exposed at a club more used to breaking transfer records than missing out on targets. The debt loaded onto the club, and £520m that has been lost since 2005, can only have had a negative effect on United's success.
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