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United considering mid-season friendlies

Because those long winter Wednesdays just drag on and on ...

Laurence Griffiths

It's the money-spinning idea that simply will not die. According to fresh new quotes out of Old Trafford today, the club are still considering taking advantage of the Europe-free midweeks to focus on coaching, fitness and tactical preparation make a bit of money by gadding around the world for the delectation of United's global fanbase.

Speaking to the Associated Press, managing director Richard Arnold was predictably and professionally vague about the idea:

That's something we continue to look at, as always making sure that the preparations we do on the pitch come first. For many years of our international tours, there is a plan to ensure we get that team building that goes together with getting the team all together in one place. That's something that's being looked at with regards to the future with Louis [Van Gaal].

Asked whether Van Gaal was happy about the idea, given his pointed comments before the season began about the need to weigh commercial opportunities against the priorities of the squad, Arnold evaded the question with aplomb:

I can only speak positively of my experience with the manager in terms of his understanding of what's required to get a first-class team onto the pitch and also what's required for running a club of our magnitude. We have a fantastic partnership in terms of our work off the pitch and I'm very appreciative of the support we have had from him.

Or, to translate into normal human: it's probably happening at some point, and Van Gaal's unlikely to kick off about it too loudly. For what it's worth, ESPN seem to think that the Middle East is the most likely destination, and suggests that's the chance of escaping the English winter might be appealing as well. Appealing to who, they don't specify.