Cash-rich, but United shouldn't go down Real's Galactico path
A £750 million ($1.52 billion) windfall promises a slew of opportunities.
It can also wreck the soul.
What Manchester United do with the money from their world-record kit deal with German sportswear giant adidas will be closely watched.
Word has it that manager Louis van Gaal is set for another spending spree, after splashing out almost £160m since he arrived at Old Trafford.
Even Barcelona's Lionel Messi is now well within their reach, if the Argentine superstar decides to leave the Nou Camp.
But United risk losing their identity if they go down the route of Real Madrid's Galacticos.
Sir Alex Ferguson oversaw the rise of the Class of '92 that became the envy of the world.
To ditch their proud tradition of nurturing their own through their youth academy will sound the death knell of the United we know.
To deny promising kids the chance of a breakthrough at the club where they developed will kill the magic that made them special.
It may also spell the end of the prolific production line which unearthed gems such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
Money breeds confidence, but it also spawns impatience.
Despite a poor 2013/14 campaign on the pitch, the Red Devils raked in 518 million euros ($802m), compared with 424m euros the previous year, according to Deloitte's latest Football Money League.
Austin Houlihan, a senior manager at Deloitte, added that United could even overtake Real at the top of the chart in two years' time if they return to Champions League action next season.
Missing out on European football this term was largely the reason for their appointment of veteran coach van Gaal, on whom they have pinned their hopes of becoming England and Europe's best again.
But the Dutchman's decision to spend their way to success has been a controversial one.
The most high-profile arrival has been that of Argentina winger Angel de Maria for a UK record of £57.9m, while the loan deal of Radamel Falcao and signing of Marcos Rojo didn't come cheap either.
Their new policy has drawn comparisons with Real's tactic of buying ready-made stars to achieve instant success.
At Los Blancos, young academy products struggle to make an impression in the first team due to a lack of playing time, as the bigger names dominate the team sheets.
Cristiano Ronaldo takes centre stage, while the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema take turns to bask in the limelight.
Whether Jese Rodriguez Ruiz, a very promising youth product, can nail down a long-term starting place remains a very big question mark.
United's attempt to go down the same path as Real hasn't gone down well with some.
"It is not the way I would expect United to go about their business," said former United defender Neville.
"I thought it would be more controlled."
The sale of homegrown player Danny Welbeck to Arsenal at the same time also sent a worrying message, he added.
In doing so, Mike Phelan, once Fergie's right-hand man, feels that the club have "broken" their identity.
That's not to say United's success over the last two decades was purely down to faith in their own.
The Red Devils have always spent big.
Fergie himself broke the British transfer record on five occasions - on Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Juan Sebastian Veron and Rio Ferdinand.
But the key word here is balance. Fergie never forgot that.
United are on the brink of taking their spending to a whole new level.
Success is always welcome. But at what price?
A season that saw Man United finish in their lowest league position since the start of the Premier League era actually saw the Red Devils reclaim second spot in the money league.
— A Deloitte spokesman
DELOITTE’S FOOTBALL MONEY LEAGUE
(Based on club revenue in 2013/14)
1. (1) Real Madrid (Spain)
550 million euros ($841.1m)
2. (4) Man United (England)
3. (3) Bayern Munich (Germany)
4. (2) Barcelona (Spain)
5. (5) Paris St Germain (France)
6. (6) Man City (England)
7. (7) Chelsea (England)
8. (8) Arsenal (England)
9. (12) Liverpool (England)
10. (9) Juventus (Italy)
* 2012/13 ranking in brackets