Carragher explains why Woodward ‘can’t really win’ at Man Utd

Joe Williams
Ed Woodward Man Utd

Jamie Carragher thinks Man Utd executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is “damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t” at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils finally got their first summer signing over the line last week when Donny van de Beek moved from Ajax to Man Utd for around £40m.

Pressure had been building on Woodward and United’s board with a deal for primary target Jadon Sancho seemingly reaching an impasse, with Borussia Dortmund confirming that the winger would be staying at the German club.

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On the Red Devils’ pursuit of Sancho, Carragher wrote in The Sunday Times: “United will eventually pay Borussia Dortmund — who have valued the player at £120 million — what they need to for the 20-year-old because they are one of maybe two teams in the Premier League who still have the finances to spend big amid the pandemic.

“When United have paid big fees for players in the past we’ve all laughed and said, ‘They’ve been done again.’ The same thing used to happen with Liverpool. We would spend a fortune on a player, the move would not work, and everyone laughed. Now United are in the line of fire.

“People call Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, a joke because selling clubs can get an extra £10 million or £20 million from him. But Woodward is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He can’t really win.

“I have been there for Liverpool. We would be interested in a player and I’d be saying, ‘Just pay it!’ Then, a few months later, when the player is struggling, you are asking, ‘Why did we pay so much?’

“United have almost got a clear run at Sancho now — but that will change if he is still at Dortmund next year. I would be very surprised if Liverpool did not try to sign him next summer. I don’t think City will want him because of the way he left as a 17-year-old back in 2017, while Chelsea may think about it.

“United need someone on that right-hand side. At only 18 years of age Mason Greenwood has come in and done brilliantly, but he will eventually play down the middle, such is his strength as a finisher.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and even Juan Mata in that right-sided role, now it’s Greenwood. United also need a centre back as they can be defensively frail. But the fact that Chelsea have signed the 35-yea-old Thiago Silva tells you that there are not many great central defenders out there.

“Unless United get a couple more players in I can’t see how they will challenge City and Liverpool at the top. You need a minimum of 95 points to win the title now — and I think only City and Liverpool can get that kind of total.”