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Man United: in Debt but Spending Big
The Guardian, July 26th, 2007 3:30PM

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Given the lavish spending of Sir Alex Ferguson on new players this summer, supporters would be forgiven for wondering where Manchester United's money is coming from. United is the most heavily indebted club in the English Premier League. Its borrowings total $1.32 billion. Using a little math, the Guardian points out, however, that the Glazer family (the club's owner) hasn't added to its debt at all in acquiring Owen Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson this summer, as the club expects to have more than doubled its operating profit last season, to approximately $200 million.

As finance expert Dan Jones of the financial firm Deloitte explained: "It's very difficult to spot a weak link at the moment. It's not just a great club with a great brand. They have a fantastic merchandising operation, the biggest stadium in the country, they play in the richest and most successful league, they have a young, exciting team and they are winning titles again."

It may sound like there's a lot of underlying speculation to those claims, but here's the numbers break down: United's Glazer deals have (including Tevez) cost a grand total $194 million -- but the upfront costs for this year (minus Tevez) are only $66 million. So, if you subtract $11 million for Kieron Dyer's transfer and $12 million for Gabriel Heinze's supposed move to Liverpool, you get $43 million. Then subtract $22 million and $24 million for last year's sales of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Jon Obi Mikel, respectively, and suddenly, United is in the black.

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