Manchester United's new chief executive Ed Woodward has endured a torrid time since taking over the job.
This summer saw major changes at England's most-decorated club. Not only did legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retire following United's 20th and Sir Alex's 13th Premier League triumph, but there was also an overhaul of the coaching staff as well as a change in the commercial side of the club with long-standing chief executive David Gill leaving his post.
Woodward is the man to replace Gill in that position, but is yet to endear himself to the fans following a summer which offered so much promise and talk of a marquee signing, only to yield one first-team signing in the form of Belgian international Marouane Fellaini, for what many consider an excessive fee at £27.5M.
Woodward has held a role at the club since 2005 and reportedly played an instrumental role in the Glazers takeover that year - something which also won't sit well with the Old Trafford faithful. He a position in charge of commercial and media operations which consisted of Woodward tying up a number of sponsorship deals which significantly increased United's commercial revenue from £48.7M following his arrival at the club in 2005 to £117.6M in 2012.
Now as chief executive of the club, he plays a pivotal role in not only securing new sponsorship deals, but also tying up signings on behalf of the club efficiently and effectively. The former, he has been very successful at with the club securing significant deals with Nike, DHL and Aeroloft along with over thirty others. However, the latter, by all accounts, has been an embarrassment.
This is of course uncharted territory for United's new chief executive, but considering the success he has had with commercial deals, you would think that Woodward would have been much better at finalising transfer deals. That does not appear to be the case however, with United's approach to transfers this season very uncharacteristic of them.
While on tour in Australia during January, Woodward returned to the UK to conduct urgent transfer business and it was expected this would herald United's first major transfer with Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas being touted for moves. Thiago eventually moved to Bayern Munich, while public moves for Fabregas backfired on the club.
Just recently, Everton branded Manchester United's tentative £28M dual bid for the Toffees' star duo Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini as 'insulting and derisory'. What makes matters even worse for the club is that United dilly-dallied with bids for Fellaini, while they simply could have activated his £23M buy-out clause before August instead of eventually signing the big Belgian for £27.5M on deadline day.
Poor negotiation on Woodward's part can be accepted first time around, but United cannot allow the next transfer window to spiral out of control again. This was Woodward's baptism of fire at one of the biggest clubs in the world and he knows more is expected of him in January.
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