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Woodward must splash Man Utd cash now or risk the chop

Manchester United’s first match of the season was at best lacklustre, at worst downright dreadful. The only positive, a goal from new captain Wayne Rooney. Having lost 2-1 at home to Swansea, the Red Devils drifted from 5/1 to 8/1 in Coral’s Premier League title market.

With Louis van Gaal persisting with the 3-4-1-2 formation that served United so well in pre-season, Swansea found ways to expose the likes of the makeshift left wing back Ashley Young, and inexperienced defender Tyler Blackett.

As well as this, new signing Ander Herrera looked off the pace of the Premier League, and new vice-captain Darren Fletcher seemed jaded alongside him, with recent, long-term injury problems contributing to an evident lack of fitness in the final 30 minutes.

If CEO Ed Woodward needed a sign to spend, this defeat was it. Debilitation has cost him and the club already, and although appointing Van Gaal placated fans for the time being, it could well delay an inevitable backlash later in the season.

After telling anyone who would listen that the club could sign anyone in the world earlier this summer, he is yet to act on these claims. The display against Garry Monk’s Swansea proved that heavy investment is needed.

At least three world class captures to provide a spine to the starting IX and then a specialist right wing back should be sought aggressively with the transfer window waning imminently.

Securing hundreds of millions of pounds in sponsorship deals, including a deal with Adidas reportedly worth in the region of £1bn; the club are ideally positioned to spend heavily, though if they are players who can deliver success for the next five years, it won’t be a waste of money.

Adidas chiefs must be wondering when, and is Woodward going to spend, to ensure the biggest sports brand in the world are associated with one of football’s biggest clubs.

Time is running out. Although United are odds-on at 8/11 to secure Champions League football this term, this price will drift dramatically if the team isn’t improved soon. If they don’t, it could well be Woodward’s head.