Alexis Sanchez deal is sound business - Man United exec Woodward

MANCHESTER -- Manchester United were able to pip Manchester City to the signing of Alexis Sanchez because of their "solid business model," according to the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The Chile international moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in January in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

There has been speculation Man United broke the bank to fit Sanchez into their wage structure while sources have told ESPN FC that City pulled out of negotiations with the 29-year-old because of concerns over the cost of the deal.

But Woodward, speaking as the club announced second quarter revenues of £163.9 million, up four percent on last year, insists United could afford to have Sanchez on board.

He said: "Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the club with the extension of Jose Mourinho's contract as manager and the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez. We look forward to the remainder of the season with confidence."

Sanchez scored his first goal for United on his home debut in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield on Saturday. But Woodward insists that it is not just on the pitch that the new arrival is paying off.

"The trade generated some interesting social media stats. It was the biggest United post on Instagram with two million likes and comments," he added. "It was the club's most shared Facebook post ever and the most retweeted post ever.

"To put that into context, the announcement posts generated 75 percent more interactions that the announcement of the sale of the world's most expensive player last summer when Neymar moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain."

Meanwhile, United chief financial officer Cliff Baty attributed a half-year loss of nearly £13m ($18m) to the impact of the recent U.S. tax plan overhaul, but he said it would not affect the club's ability to comply with financial fair play regulations.

The U.S. corporate tax rate was cut from 35 to 21 percent in December. The changes required the team, which is owned by the American Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, to make an accounting write-off of £48.8m ($68 million).

It led to United reporting losses of £12.87m in the first half of the financial year after making a profit of £18.7m in the six months to Dec. 31, 2016.

"[The tax changes] should be beneficial to the club in the long term, however we are still working through the details of the potential impact of the more complex aspect of the reforms with our advisers,'' Baty said in the earnings conference call. "This is a non-tax accounting charge only, which has no impact on our financial competitiveness nor our ability to meet Financial Fair Play regulations."

United continue to expect revenues for fiscal 2018 to be between £575m and £585m -- the third successive year they will earn more than half a billion pounds.

United's net debt is £328.6m -- a decrease of £80.7m over the year -- while the gross US dollar debt principal remains unchanged.