Given that Manchester United are, technically, without a permanent manager, you would have assumed that filling the vacancy would be priority number one. However, many of Manchester United’s current issues stem from not having a director of football. Manchester United need to hire an individual who can manage the playing side of the club.
Ed Woodward’s Failings
Ed Woodward is the executive vice-chairman of Manchester United and he oversees all soccer-relating matters at the club. There is no doubt that Ed Woodward is one of the greatest commercial minds in European soccer as he has been instrumental in growing Manchester United’s value as a club. Recently, Manchester United have had limited success on the pitch but the club is still able to generate a huge amount of revenue.
However, there have been numerous soccer-related decisions that Ed Woodward has gotten wrong. Woodward has hired the past three managers, which have proven to be the wrong appointments, and has been questionable in the transfer market. Ed Woodward favors the marquee signing, as the recent deal to sign Alexis Sanchez demonstrates, over the type of player that Manchester United actually needs. Remember, last season Woodward refused to buy Mourinho another centre-back, even though one was badly needed, but said he’d sanction a deal if the superstar Raphael Varane became available. This type of recruitment is not going to bring back success to Manchester United.
The Glaziers are not going to replace Woodward. He is proving to be an incredible asset as he has grown Manchester United’s value and has generated millions-upon-millions of dollars for the American owners. Introducing a director of football would enable Ed Woodward to focus on the business aspects of the club; whilst the playing concerns, such as recruitment and the youth academy, can be taken care of by a soccer-minded individual. Ed Woodward has a background in finance, not soccer.
Three main Candidates
Monchi: Sporting Director (Seville)
Monchi has garnered a reputation of being one of the best Sporting Directors in all of soccer. Compared to all the other viable candidates for the position, Monchi has the most experience of operating in a role that is similar to that of a Director of Football. Monchi has been a Sporting Director in Serie A with Roma and his current work at Seville has seen him be widely recognized as one of the best in the business.
Currently, Monchi is the Sporting Director at Seville and he is excelling in his role. Monchi started his career as a scout and he helped uncover elite talent such as Jesus Navas and Sergio Ramos. His work as a scout has enabled him to be an exceptional talent evaluator and Manchester United desperately need people at the club who are able to evaluate players effectively. Manchester United’s transfer woes would be remedied by bringing in someone as accomplished as Monchi.
Fabio Paratici: Sporting Director (Juventus)
Fabio Paratici is the Sporting Director at Juventus and he has been linked with a move to Manchester United. Paratici has enjoyed great success at Juventus and has been credited with masterminding Ronaldo’s blockbuster transfer to Turin. Paratici has shown that he has the ability to recruit the world’s best players but is also able to spot young talent. Manchester United’s recent failures in the transfer market can be remedied by hiring someone who is excellent at recruiting players. Paratici is famed for being one of the best talent scouts in all of soccer and his appointment as the Director of Football could help change the fortunes of Manchester United.
Edwin Van der Sar: CEO (Ajax)
Former Manchester United legend Edwin Van der Sar is the CEO at high flying Ajax and he performs a role that is similar to that of a Director of Football. The Dutchmen is thriving in his new role at Ajax and has shown that he has the ability to successfully recruit talented players. Van der Sar knows the culture of the club and knows what it takes to become a star at Manchester United. This puts Van der Sar in an advantageous position as he knows what it takes to be a Manchester United player. The Dutchmen has gained valuable experience in a similar role at Ajax and hiring Van der Sar would be a shrewd appointment by the club.
Manchester United’s haphazard approach to recruitment, both players and managerial, would be remedied by the appointment of a director of football. Manchester United’s biggest problem, post-Sir Alex Fergurson, is that there has not been a clear strategy in place which informs the clubs recruitment practices. The hiring of a director of football would go a long way in fixing many of the issues that have been crippling Manchester United.
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