May 4, 2020
Manchester United have reportedly ended their two-year pursuit for a technical director. Speculation grew rife when Jose Mourinho was sacked by the Old Trafford club that a director of football or even a technical director would be working with the next manager of the club. Sine Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was announced as the permanent manager of the club over a year ago, a technical director has not been appointed.
It is suggested in the media that United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward is please with the clubs recent transfer business which has brought Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes to the club with all four of the players proving their worth to the club since they signed on the dotted line. In Woodward’s mind, it would seem that he feels a technical director is no longer needed.
After speculation free rife about a technical director role at the club, the likes of Darren Fletcher, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were all linked to the position. It was also reported that former Paris Saint-Germain chief Antero Henrique and Red Bull’s head of sport Ralf Rangnick were both sounded out by the club. It is clear that the club had no urgency to fill the position at the club, given that nothing has happened.
The Athletic has reported that United are taking a more considered view in regards to the position and will not rush to fill the vacancy because of recent stresses in the transfer market which will partly be caused by the coronavirus pandemic which stopped world football back in March. It was stated in the report that a guru to lead policy nor someone to take ownership of the manager are needed at the club now.
“It is safe to say that such a precise role is not on the agenda (at Manchester United) anymore.
“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.”
Both Woodward and Solskjaer now share the same vision regarding the clubs recruitment policy, which most of the time will target young players with ability that can be polished at the club, which is something that United have, most of the time, done well whilst doing it over a long period of time. Normally this is with academy players from the club but not always is that the case.
United spent around £70 million on Wan-Bissaka, 22 and James, 22 last summer – both of whom were not greatly experienced players in their position. Wan-Bissaka has been a breath of fresh air in the right-back position this season with James doing well on the left and right flanks, also playing further forward if needed. In the future, both players will fully establish themselves in Solskjaer’s United squad.
Not everything works according to plan though, even for clubs who have a director of football. United seemingly missed out on signing Erling Braut Haaland in January with the player heading to the Bundesliga to play for Borussia Dortmund instead of United. It may be something that is confirmed as a mistake or it will be something that enabled the club to sign another player or let one already at the club grow.
With Marcus Rashford out for a long period of time at the start of the year, United needed to move to find a replacement, otherwise the attacking line would suffer. Because of this, Odion Ighalo was brought in on a six-month loan spell from Shanghai Shenhua in China and the Nigerian striker has done well so far, despite the fact that football has been postponed for around two months now.
United seem to have renewed confidence in hoe their potential targets are being identified with transfer negotiator, Matt Judge finding the deals after talks with both Woodward and Solskjaer. United may still opt for a director of football role in the future but right now, there seems to be no need for urgency like there may have needed to be in the period directly after Mourinho was sacked.