According to Telegraph Sport, in a significant development at Manchester United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group is reportedly close to appointing a new director of football. This move is expected to be a precursor to an extensive overhaul of the club’s recruitment department.
Ineos recently completed a key appointment by bringing in Omar Berrada, previously Manchester City’s chief operating officer, as Manchester United’s new chief executive.
Following this, the focus has shifted to narrowing down candidates for the director of football role. As per the report, high-profile names in the running in the shortlist include Dan Ashworth from Newcastle, Julian Ward formerly of Liverpool, Dougie Freedman of Crystal Palace, and Paul Mitchell, who has had stints at Tottenham and Monaco.
The report also states that European candidates are also being considered, with Andrea Berta from Atletico Madrid, Cristiano Giuntoli of Juventus, Lee Congerton at Atalanta, and the AC Milan duo of Ricky Masara and Paolo Maldini, who departed last year, all linked to the role.
The appointment of the director of football is reportedly seen as integral to the new vision for Manchester United, with Ineos emphasising the importance of a unified approach between the director, the chief executive, and the manager. This synergy is something Berrada, set to formally start in the summer, will be involved in shaping.
The future of current manager Erik ten Hag is also under speculation, with decisions regarding his role to be taken by Berrada and the incoming director of football, as per Telegraph Sport.
Ineos representatives Sir Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc are expected to provide support from their positions on the club’s board.
The report further states that the focus is not just limited to the director of football role, as there might also be changes in the performance director position or other senior recruitment roles.
John Murtough, currently overseeing United’s transfer policy alongside Ten Hag, might face a change in his role or potentially exit the club, as sweeping changes are anticipated, reports James Ducker.
United’s recruitment and scouting operations have long been a topic of scrutiny, and Telegraph’s insiders suggest a comprehensive restructuring could be on the cards. “I don’t think there are any sacred cows in this,” one source said Telegraph Sport.
Ratcliffe’s investment in United, which involves acquiring a 28.9 per cent stake for £1.03 billion and an additional £237 million for Old Trafford renovations, is expected to receive regulatory approval soon. This will reportedly kickstart a thorough audit of United’s football operations by Brailsford, projected to last around six weeks.
However, the urgency of appointing a new director of football ahead of the summer transfer window remains a priority. “It needs to happen quickly,” remarked an insider to Telegraph, highlighting the criticality of this appointment for Ineos’s plans at Manchester United.