Manchester United are seriously working hard to sign more “exciting” players who are in line with the “long-term vision” of the club, according to vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
In an internal email to staff – revealed by The Telegraph – that was sent just before the official announcement of Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s £50 million transfer from Crystal Palace on Saturday, Woodward moved to shun some of the hysteria around the club by offering reassurance over summer transfer plans.
While urging colleagues to ignore some of the “misleading” rumours, Woodward suggested there would be more arrivals before the close of the transfer window on August 8 to complement the signings of Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James from Swansea City, despite recognising that they were operating in an “inflated” market.
In the email, which was leaked around 10 minutes before Wan-Bissaka’s move was made official, Woodward wrote: “Despite the inflated nature of the transfer market and constant speculation and stories, which can be misleading, the recruitment team – in conjunction with the head coach (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) – are working calmly behind the scenes to bring in other exciting players that fit their long-term vision for the club.”
“Following the arrival of Daniel James from Swansea earlier this month, I am delighted to confirm that we have signed exciting young defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace,” Woodward wrote.
“Aaron fits perfectly with Ole’s philosophy and plans for building his team and is a player who will excite our great fans as the season unfolds.”
United’s recruitment plans have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks but the club have been shocked by the criticism, not least given that the transfer market in general has been slow to take off and many of their rivals have yet to do business.
Much talk has been on United’s continuing wait to appoint a technical director, which has left the rebuilding process in the hands of Ole Solskjaer, Woodward, head of corporate development Matt Judge, technical chief scout Mick Court and the scouts.
Solskjaer is thought to be in the market for two midfielders, a central defender and possibly a right-sided forward, although incomings are likely to be influenced by who leaves amid doubts over the futures of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
United are interested in Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, and Bruno Fernandes, of Sporting Lis as well as Harry Maguire. Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, and West Ham’s Declan Rice have also interested United.
United are also understood to have made good progress in talks over a new deal for England forward Marcus Rashford and hope to finalise a deal very soon.
Ole Solskjaer has hailed Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the kind of player he wants to attract as he looks to remodel United’s team.
“Aaron is one of the best upcoming defenders in the Premier League,” Solskjaer said. “He has the right work ethic, talent and mentality to play for Manchester United and he fits exactly the type of player that we are looking to bring into the squad to help us improve and push on further.
“Aaron is a young, hungry player and eager to learn and that’s important at his age. I am delighted he has signed with us and we look forward to continuing his tremendous development so far.”
“It’s an unbelievable feeling and an honour to call myself a Manchester United player and something I know that only a small number of players have the privilege to say,” Wan-Bissaka said.
“I can’t wait to get going and integrated into the squad. I will have a short break now after the European Championships but I’m looking forward to starting training with the manager and my new teammates on the pre-season tour.”
Ander Herrera’s move to Paris St-Germain on a free from Manchester United is expected to be officially announced on Monday.