New Manchester United CEO Omar Berrada warns club about ‘overpaying’ for new signings

Omar Berrada has warned Erik ten Hag about the dangers of overpaying for players (Photo: Getty)

Manchester United will no longer overspend on transfers under Omar Berrada’s watch, with the new CEO giving some insight into how the club will operate going forward.

Last week, United confirmed the appointment of Berrada as the club’s new chief executive and he is expected to start work in the summer.

It is a huge coup for the Red Devils, having poached the 46-year-old from fierce rivals Manchester City whom he had worked for since 2011.

His arrival has been orchestrated by new minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe who is determined to restore United to their former glory after years of decline and mismanagement under the Glazers.

One huge error they have repeatedly made is overpaying for new players, with a net spend of over €600million (£513m) over the past five seasons – a figure only topped by Chelsea – yielding just one Carabao Cup trophy.

None of United’s most expensive signings – Paul Pogba (£90m), Antony (£81m), Harry Maguire (£74m), Jadon Sancho (£73m), Romelu Lukaku (£72m) etc – have been anywhere close to value for money.

One issue Erik ten Hag has recently found is that huge purchases have restricted his ability to sign targets later down the line, with Berrada warning that it can become a ‘slippery slope’.

£81m signing Antony is a prime example of Man Utd ‘overpaying’ (Photo: Getty)

‘If you have a very solid rationale as to why you’re offering the fee, the salary and the commission, they might not agree with it but they will accept it,’ he told the Financial Times.

‘Once you start overpaying then you lose that argument and that puts you in a much more difficult position to say to the next one, “I can only offer you this”.’

Over the past decade Berrada has helped transform City into a football juggernaut both on and off the pitch, and he says that those two are intrinsically linked, adding that City’s treble win last season was ‘by design, not by luck’ and that with the right strategy ‘success on the pitch will come’.

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‘Our job is to ensure that we’ve created a structure, this ecosystem around everything that we’re doing now to make it as consistent as possible so when there is a downwards cycle, we make it as short as possible.

‘The commercial growth of the clubs is predicated or underpinned by success on the pitch. If you have a really good business strategy alongside it, then it just turbocharges the growth off the pitch.’

This philosophy will be greatly embraced by United fans as it starkly contrast the strategy of the much-maligned former club chief Ed Woodward who once said that: ‘Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business.’

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