Manchester United: Van Gaal seeks excuses in money but the figures prove him wrong
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has news for the club’s fans: your team isn’t as good as it was when it was winning things season on season.
Man United no longer dominate the Barclays Premier League and target top European honours as they did under Sir Alex Ferguson. Van Gaal says anyone looking at the past and expecting a repeat is in dream land.
He told the Press:
“I am working very hard and my players are working very hard to do everything we can. The problem is that we have to meet with expectations and the expectations at Manchester United are very high. That is our problem. You can see there were a lot of positive things [during the Champions League defeat by Wolfsburg], but if you don’t want to see that, that’s not my problem. I work hard, my players work hard and now we are in the Europa League and we have to work hard to win that. That is not easy, but nobody hears that.
“They don’t want to hear me. They say a club like Manchester United has to win. That’s the past. You have to analyse the club now. [You cannot] compare it with ten years ago, because there has been an evolution in football, European football. It is not as easy as everybody thinks. Now we have many more clubs [in England and in Europe] who have money, and the structure to win things. Next year, all the clubs in the Premier League have a bigger budget than most of the clubs in Europe. That makes a big difference. Every club can buy a player: the difference [in the transfer market] is not so big.
“You think Manchester United has a lot of money, that is true, but the difference [with others] is not so big any more. The confirmation is every week. The bottom clubs can beat the top teams. There is no other league that this happens as often as it does in the Premier League. That makes it very difficult for a Premier League club to match [teams] from other leagues in the Champions League.”
“We shall do everything to win something, but it is very difficult. It is not only difficult for Manchester United. It is also difficult for Manchester City and Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea or Leicester.”
Leicester City did not spend more than £250 million on players, as United have done since Van Gaal took over at Old Trafford. Money matter – but it can’t be the only reason teams win.
Oliver Kay tells Times readers:
Does Van Gaal really want to play the money game? OK, Louis, you asked for this. For the year ending June 2015, Manchester United’s turnover was £395.2 million. The corresponding figure for this season has been forecast to break £500 million and, if it falls slightly short, it will only be because their slice of Champions League revenue has dropped as a result of their elimination at the group stage…
By contrast, PSV Eindhoven, who took four points from them in that Champions League group, generated £45 million in revenue in 2013-14 and if their accounts have been swollen since then, it has only been through the £40 million they raised by selling their two most marketable players, Georgino Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, to Newcastle United and Manchester United.
Which makes you wonder at United’s transfer policy. It’s not just about having more money than your opponent – thank God – it’s about what you do with it. And right now, United are investing badly.
PS: Man United play Bournemouth today in what will be the first league meeting between the two clubs. Annual turnover (2013-14) Bournemouth £10.1m v Man United £433m. Easy, then.United will win by 40 goals to 1.