Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho made it clear he wanted to add a central defender last summer, but his wishes fell on deaf ears.
United’s poor defensive performances, along with many other issues, culminated in Mourinho’s sacking last December.
Woodward has come in for much criticism throughout his six years at Old Trafford, not least for how he handled much of Mourinho’s tenure.
But deciding to reject several of the Portuguese manger’s targets may have actually saved the Red Devils millions with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to change the club’s recruitment policy.
The Norwegian is trying to steer the club away from adding big names for big money instead looking to add youth which is a far cry from the type of players Mourinho was looking to bring in.
Toby Alderweireld, Diego Godin and Jerome Boating were all identified as targets last summer.
The youngest of that trio was 29-years-old with Godin the eldest at 32 at the time.
Everything about Solskjaer’s conduct suggests those players may have been marginalised or even moved on this summer.
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He has made a conscious effort to back the team’s young players and has continued those principles with the additions of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
Alderweireld is available for £25m, at least until Friday, but United have decided to not trigger that release clause and continue their summer long pursuit of Harry Maguire.
Godin also announced he would leave Atletico Madrid earlier this year and has subsequently joined Inter Milan – United did not even entertain a move for the Uruguayan.
Boateng was also told he was free to leave Bayern Munich this summer, although the Germans may yet make a U-turn on those comments – United showed no interest.
Woodward’s motivation behind several managerial appointments has been questioned, as has the competency.
But his decision not to back Mourinho may actually have worked in his favour given that Solskjaer is such a contrasting figure.
The club’s executive vice chairman is not part of United’s pre-season tour, instead opting to stay in the UK to pursue United’s summer targets.
David De Gea’s decision to prolong his stay is also a major coup, although Woodward won’t be celebrating mass popularity among the Old Trafford faithful just yet.