Top football executive issues summer transfer window warning: 'It may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs'

A top executive has warned about the 'scale of the challenge' facing football - and stressed it is unlikely to be business as usual for any club in the summer transfer market.

Football has been suspended indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and while the Premier League is determined to complete the season behind-closed-doors, a warning has been issued about the impact of the crisis on the industry.

Newcastle United are in the process of a high-profile takeover over by the PIF, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners consortium.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, speaking generally, believes continuing speculation around big-money transfers “ignore the realities that face the sport” due to the coronavirus crisis.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce.

Woodward says everyone in all walks of life are “grappling with such extraordinary challenges” and the United chief outlined a challenging outlook to supporters in a quarterly fans forum held via conference call on Friday.

“We will continue looking for more ways of supporting those in need for as long as the pandemic continues,” he said in his opening remarks.

“This is consistent with our values as a club, our strong roots into our community, and the deep relationships we have with our fans.

“It is also important to acknowledge the part played by our successful business in allowing us to fulfil our social responsibilities.

“We have always believed that our commercial model gives us greater resilience than most clubs and we are grateful for the enduring support of our commercial partners in helping us achieve that.

“However, nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer.

“As ever our priority is the success of team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.

“On this basis, I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport.”