May 5, 2020

Man United make shock U-turn on director of football decision

Man United, Director Of Football

Man United ‘no longer want’ to appoint a director of football despite links with a number of potential targets, according to reports.

Manchester United were reportedly hoping to appoint their first-ever director of football before the end of last season – although it is yet to be seen what they would want from the person in the role.

Names such as Paul Mitchell of RB Leipzig, Ajax’s Edwin van der Sar and Atletico Madrid sporting director Berta have been bandied about over the last year or so but Man Utd have yet to make an appointment.

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And now a report in The Athletic now claims that ‘such a precise role is not on the agenda anymore’ as ‘United do not seek a guru to lead policy for signings, nor will anybody come in to take ownership of who sits in the dugout.’

The relationship between executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is described as ‘vital’ and Woodward ‘remains trusted by the Glazer family even after David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and [Jose] Mourinho have come and gone.’

The Athletic adds:

‘The simple truth is that anybody who now joins will not be given the influence typically associated with such a role because United are eminently satisfied at their collaborative approach, which has been constructed in the years since Ferguson left and took his unique blend of connections, knowledge and leverage with him.’

Solskjaer has made five successful signings since he took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire proving themselves.

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‘All five arrivals under Solskjaer have made a good impression and that only strengthens the idea that, actually, United already have a de facto director of football in the shape of the Norwegian.

‘Like Ferguson, Solskjaer delegates his coaching and thinks of the bigger picture, and you can be sure that as long as he is in charge, the signings will fit a unified template. The debate would come if he goes. Would the next manager take such a holistic approach?

‘United are adamant that the current system means stability for the squad and that the days of a new manager meaning a completely new team have gone. This is why there is no great desire for a director of football — at least as the role has been understood before.’

Football 365