Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has chided the club’s transfer spending and questioned their direction following Wednesday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat to Burnley.
The Red Devils lost at home to the Clarets for the first time since 1962, and BT Sport pundit Ferdinand aired his frustrations after one of United’s worst results in recent seasons (via Evening Standard):
“I can't defend this. What has been invested? These young kids now in schools around the country, they are not going to be wearing Manchester United shirts.”
The 41-year-old—a six-time Premier League champion at Old Trafford, who left the club in 2014—said he couldn’t see “a £600 million squad out there.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continued to suffer in the absence of injured striker Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford, where Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez each scored to seal a historic Burnley win.
United have spent roughly £550 million ($655 million) on players since the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign. UEFA reported in January that they have the fourth-highest wage bill in Europe (and the highest in the Premier League), which took up half of the club’s revenue in 2018.
Darren Fletcher—who won five Premier League titles alongside Ferdinand—told BBC Radio 5 Live the atmosphere at Old Trafford “really turned toxic for the first time” against Burnley. The ground emptied early, and Fletcher added: "The scenes in the stadium weren't good.”
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been the target of some fan furor in the role. The club signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City last summer for £80 million to make him the most expensive defender in world football, a deal that dragged for months before United finally paid the original asking price.
Record signing Paul Pogba cost the club $116 million in 2016 but has failed to inspire since returning to Manchester, hardly featuring this season amid a string of injuries.
“It's an embarrassment. People at the top need to look and see this and make changes, put a plan in place that people can sit there and see where we are going now. I don't see it.”