London: Manchester United are prepared to break transfer records in order to give new manager Louis van Gaal the players he wants, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
The English giants have already spent over £50 million ($85 million, 63 million euros) on England left-back Luke Shaw and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, and Woodward says that they are ready to spend even more.
Some of United`s European rivals have spent big recently. Real Madrid on Tuesday signed James Rodriguez from Monaco for a fee of around £63 million ($107.4m), while Barcelona paid Liverpool around £75 million ($127.8m) for Luis Suarez.
Asked if United were able to pay a similar amount for a player, Woodward said: "It is in our capabilities. The club are not afraid of doing that -- spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market."
United are rebuilding under Van Gaal after a dismal 2013-14 season and Woodward says that in the context, the club will have no qualms about sanctioning big-money signings.
"Whether it`s a record or not doesn`t really resonate with us," he added, in comments reported by the British media on Wednesday.
"What resonates is a top, top elite player that the manager wants that is going to be a star for Manchester United. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings.
"I get pointed in the direction of a target that the manager wants and there is an assessment of what that might cost and I`ll negotiate hard to do the best I can on the trade."
United have been linked with a host of players in recent weeks, including Germany centre-back Mats Hummels, Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, and the Dutch trio of Daley Blind, Stefan de Vrij and Kevin Strootman.
Woodward endured a trying first close-season last year, when United missed out on a succession of major targets, and he admits he still needs to prove his worth to the club`s supporters.
"You gain credibility through experience and through time," said the former investment banker.
"You can`t expect credibility from day one and I wouldn`t ask that of the fans. You keep learning on the job and I`ll continue to learn for a long period of time.
"I don`t mind reading (criticism), because it`s extremely important for me to listen to the fans. Criticism can change into positive comments over a period of time."