Football

Manchester United want world's best players, says vice chairman

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Vice chairman Ed Woodward has claimed Manchester United want to sign the best players in the world.

He also added that the club wouldn't be beaten financially by the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, and gave his backing to David Moyes as the man to attract these stars to the club.

Speaking in the Manchester Evening News, Woodward was ambitious in his targets for the club, who currently sit eighth in the league.

The Ballon d'Or short-list was recently released and Woodward wants to see more United players appearing on the list.

Woodward said: “I don’t like the fact that, in the list of 25 players in the Ballon d’Or, we’ll have Robin (van Persie) and Wayne (Rooney).

“I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on that list.

“We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us. We've had that in the past. We’re in for players if the manager wants to be.”

United - and Woodward and Moyes in particular - came in for heaving criticism for their performance in this summer's transfer window.

Their only major signing came in the form of Marouane Fellaini who they signed on deadline day for £27.5million.

The club could have signed the Belgian international for £4million less just a few weeks earlier and the misjudgement was seen as indicative of the club's summer failings.

Late interest for the likes of Ander Herrera, Daniele de Rossi and Fabio Coentrao all failed to materialise and it was revealed that the club declined the opportunity to sign Mesut Ozil.

Vice chairman Woodward was left disappointed but not disheartened by the saga.

“It was disappointing that we didn't sign more players, but I always knew it was going to be a tough window,” Woodward said.

“We had a manager leaving and a manager arriving on July 1. As a club we didn’t want to impose a plan on the new manager that had come from the old manager.

“We have a manager who we want to give our full support to make his decision about the players and the decisions about the academy. He has the same power that Alex did.

“The early view was that we needed a central midfielder and left-back. There wasn’t a long list of people he wanted to go after.

“We didn’t need to make disposals, to sell any players until the manager was absolutely clear in what he wanted to do.

“So we kept the players and added Fellaini, the first central midfielder we’ve bought in six years.”

One piece of business the club can be proud of is the ability to keep Wayne Rooney who was rumoured to be leaving.

“I’m delighted that he’s still wearing red,” he said. “I wanted to click my fingers and for it to be September 3. He’s irreplaceable and phenomenal to watch.”

The striker has started the season on-fire, justifying the club's decision to keep him.

One man who hasn't received such praise this season is new manager David Moyes.

However, Woodward remains behind the Scot.

“We don’t want the manager to be a hired gun for the next two or three years,” he said. “We want the next generation to enjoy having him there creating his own legacy."

Manchester United face Norwich City in the Capital One Cup tonight.

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Manchester United

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