United director rejects commercial criticism

Manchester United commercial director Richard Arnold has rejected claims that the club purchase players to enhance their financial situation.

With Asian cult figure Ji-Sung Park playing the majority of his career at Old Trafford, critics have stated that the midfielder’s career with the Red Devils has been prolonged to continue shirt sales and popularity of the team in the Far East.

A move for Japanese superstar Shinji Kagawa is thought to be close to completion also, but Arnold has reiterated that all deals are done for footballing reasons, not commercial ones.

“We don’t sign players to sell shirts.” Arnold told The Telegraph.

“We are reliant on 25 players and they are all massive stars. We have 25 George Clooneys.

“When you look at the success we’ve seen in that part of the world [Asia], it isn’t down to any one player or person. Of course, Ji is a fantastic player, was captain of the South Korea team and continues to be a key part of our squad.

“But for Manchester United, it’s more than any one player. It was more than George Best, it was more than Bryan Robson, it was more than David Beckham, it was more than Cantona, than Park.

“Ji is very popular in Korea, just as Javier Hernandez is hugely popular in Mexico, but Paul Scholes has his own Chinese character.

“These are huge stars and the big stars are the big stars in every country. Our games are shown 1.1 billion homes across the globe and you think ‘which film does that 60 times a year?’

“Be it George Clooney or Brad Pitt, what is there where that is shown? There just isn’t anything like it,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight

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