The United chief believes the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on football means the next transfer window will not be ‘business as usual’ in terms of blockbuster deals.
While United bidding for Kane – or Borussia Dortmund‘s £100m-rated Jadon Sancho – cannot be ruled out, Woodward insists the figures being mentioned are simply unrealistic.
Ed Woodward says that it is unrealistic that Manchester United will bid £200m for Harry Kane
Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, valued at £100m, has been linked with a move to United
He said: ‘I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport.
‘Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of the challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be business as usual for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer.
‘As ever our priority is the success of team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.’
Woodward suggested that it may not be business as usual for United in the transfer window
Kane, who is under contract at Spurs until 2024, cast doubt over his future at the club last month by admitting that he wouldn’t stay ‘for the sake of it’.
It’s understood that Spurs chief Daniel Levy was upset over the England captain’s comments and would be prepared to sell him for £200m to ease the club’s financial concerns – eclipsing the world record £198m fee Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017.
However, with United set to tie up a permanent deal for Odion Ighalo and maintaining a strong interest in Sancho, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Birmingham’s rising star Jude Bellingham, that figure is beyond even a club of United’s wealth.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the club could ‘exploit’ the current financial crisis
Although manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said they could ‘exploit’ the current financial crisis in football to sign players this summer, it’s clear that Woodward will take a pragmatic approach.
Speaking to a fans’ forum by conference call because of the pandemic, Woodward confirmed that United want to finish off the current season.
He added: ‘Like all of you, we are eager to see the team return to the field as soon as we are advised it is safe to do so, hopefully to complete a season which still held so much promise for us in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup when it was suspended.
‘While it may be that games need to be played behind closed doors in the shorter term, we all recognise that football will not be fully back to normal until supporters are once again in attendance.’