The Sun : Man Utd’s financial woes are out of their hands.. so is now really the time to take a £200m gamble in transfer market?

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UNTIL recently, Manchester United's problems were mostly self-inflicted.

But the worrying financial results the club had just released show how factors beyond their control, especially the Covid-19 pandemic, could now hamper their efforts to try to make up for the mistakes of the past.

United will have to splash the cash to lure Jadon Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund this summer
Getty Images - Getty

United fans who hate the owners will be furious about the huge leap in net debt that is the long-term legacy of the way the Glazer family took control in the first place.

And it is, of course, partly the fault of the Glazers and their lieutenant Ed Woodward that the club missed out on the Champions League again and so was already guaranteed to make less money in 2019/20.

But it's the coronavirus crisis, mainly by causing the £15m rebate to Premier League broadcasters and changes in the dollar/pound exchange rate, that is now in the driving seat.

As United themselves admit, what makes the situation all the more difficult is no-one knows how and when this all ends, and what football and the world looks like afterwards.

There are some things of which United can be certain.

For instance, if they fail to qualify for the next edition of Champions League, Adidas will cut by 30 per cent their annual £75m kit sponsorship payment.

But will Project Restart be a success and give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team the chance to earn a place on merit? If not, will the final standings be resolved in a way that works in United's favour?

Will Manchester City succeed in their appeal against their Champions League ban? If not, fifth place should be enough for United, but it's unclear when the result of City's case, due to be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport from June 8 to 10, will be known.

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Paul Pogba looks set to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season and could raise munch-needed funds
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Regardless of all that, when will the next Champions League tournament take place and what will the TV and prize money be?

Enough to tip United back into the black and back on the road to success?

Next question: when will the transfer market re-open and what will it be like?

It has been suggested that United are in a good position to take advantage of the new reality, and to use their spending power to pick up big talents on the cheap.

United have £90m in cash reserves and £150 in credit facilities. They could in theory use those to gamble on buying their way out of trouble.

Perhaps splashing £200m on Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham isn't just a pipedream.

But it would be a big chance to take in the toughest financial climate in living memory, and United have investors to answer to, as well as fans.

Selling Pogba to the highest bidder would give them more room for manoeuvre, but what will the highest bidder be willing to pay?

When the immediate crisis has eased, United will still generate more cash than most clubs in the world and, if United are suffering in the current circumstances, then many of their rivals will be feeling it just as hard, if not more so.

But if those in charge at Old Trafford make the wrong decisions again, the club will be in real trouble.

Ed Woodward has big decisions to make at Manchester United this summer
PA:Press Association

Once upon a time, United were enjoying the virtuous circle of success equals more income equals more success, and so on.

That advantage was squandered before Covid-19 stopped football in its tracks, with Liverpool and/or Manchester City tipped to overtake United in terms of revenue for the first time this season.

The pandemic means United have very little room for error, on and off the pitch, if they are to avoid slipping further behind.

The Red Devils have also been linked to Birmingham City star Jude Bellingham
Getty Images - Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer alongside Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer

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