Taken from a comment in the Guardian website:
Net spend is NOT the primary financial factor when it comes to transfer strategy.Wage-turnover ratio is much more important.
Man United are firm about keeping it below 50% Utd’s wage-turnover ratio is currently around 46%. Its hovered between 45 & 50% since the Glazers took over. Turnover has actually increased since the Glazer’s took over and as a result, the 08/09 wage bill increased from £123m to £132m in 09/10.
People love to talk about the burden of debt on the club and how this negatively impacted the amount of money SAF has to spend. Yes, it might affect how much money SAF can bid for a players, but it doesn’t affect the wages Utd can offer to players. Turnover (revenue), is calculated before the debt payments are deducted. The debt has no impact on the wage structure or the contracts Utd can offer to players. Utd could have given SAF £100m to spend on players, but he probably still wouldn’t have been able to offer Nasri the wages City were offering him because of the strict wage structure at Utd.
And when we Arsenal fans crib about why we could not get Juan Mata, however much we wanted him…. That’s why.