As Manchester United projects falling profits, will its big spending on players restore its fortunes?

Manager Louis van Gaal has a tough job on his hands

Trevor Birch, a partner at BDO and former chief executive of Chelsea Football Club, says Yes.

The club is a commercial phenomenon in footballing terms.

It’s just reported annual revenues of £430m, increasing commercial revenues by £135m since 2007.

It generates astonishing positive cashflow and, as a self-financing business model, continues to be almost untouchable in the industry – certainly in the UK.

Some of this huge wealth is now being deployed in the acquisition of major stars, much in the style of the Real Madrid collection of Galacticos.

Will it guarantee success? The simple answer has to be yes.

Money talks, and in the world of Premier League football, it shouts.

Aligned with a top coach – and they have that in Louis van Gaal – the club will be challenging for a top four slot this season.

As long as it gains Champions League qualification, with the guaranteed £50m a year and sponsor exposure over the next couple of years, winning the title isn’t really a necessity in the short term.

Dr John Beech, an honorary research fellow at Coventry University who runs the blog Football Management, says No.

Manchester United sitting at 14 in the Premier League would have been unthinkable in the era of Sir Alex Ferguson.

It has clearly lost its old position: the result of managerial issues (Ferguson was always going to be an extremely difficult act to follow) and a preponderance of ageing stars.

Notwithstanding the requirement to pay off debts loaded onto it by the Glazers, its commercial model is exemplary, and the revenue streams it generates provide an excellent prospect for rebuilding in the mid-to-long term.

But the football scene has changed.

The Big Four is now at least a Big Five, and other clubs have risen above the relative mediocrity of mid-table.

Top players are likely to see other top English clubs, or the likes of Real Madrid, as equally attractive to play for.

It’s looking unlikely that Man United will be able to quite restore its highly esteemed fortunes as a super club.

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