Manchester United players reportedly feel the Glazers should hire a technical director to help with recruitment. But, unfortunately for them, the Red Devils owners are unlikely to take any action on that front. And that’s because the club are happy with how their transfer activity has gone since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho.
United’s recruitment in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson waltzed off into the sunset in 2013 has been mixed.
They spent David Moyes’ sole summer in charge chasing both Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas, who were tied to Tottenham and Barcelona at the time.
But, on the final day of the 2013 summer transfer window, the Red Devils ended up settling for the signing of Marouane Fellaini instead.
United then hired Louis van Gaal and made a splash, signing Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo during the Dutchman’s first transfer window in charge.
But only Herrera and Shaw have ever come close to justifying their arrivals while the other four all failed to live up to expectations.
What’s more, is that Van Gaal felt he should have been backed even more.
He claimed to want Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels but Ed Woodward missed out on signing the trio, much to the annoyance of the 69-year-old.
“I didn’t always get the players that I want. That’s the problem,” he said.
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“There is [Ed] Woodward and his right hand is [head of corporate development] Matt Judge. Judge I met once in a while but not too much. And there was the head of scouting. That was the structure but you are always dependent on Woodward and Judge.
“I thought always Manchester United can buy every player because they have a lot of power. Seemingly a few players were not reachable for Manchester United. I cannot understand but it was like that.”
Jose Mourinho also landed big-name players.
Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku were all signed on his watch but Sanchez and Lukaku are now at Inter Milan. Pogba remains at United, though is struggling for form this term.
However, since Solskjaer took over, his arrivals have been hits.
Harry Maguire’s performances may have been mixed this term but he was vital last season, helping the club finish third in the Premier League table.
On his day, the England international is world class. It just so seems that, after a summer of turbulence, he needs time to get back to his best.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James are both useful, the former particularly so. James could yet come good in the future, even if the Wales international seems in dire need of a loan away.
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Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo both arrived in the January transfer window. Fernandes has been electric while Ighalo did a job last season, scoring five goals after many had written him off as a flop.
And, in the summer transfer window just gone, United landed Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles.
It’s still too early to judge the quartet, who are still finding their feet in the Premier League.
Solskjaer actually wanted Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham but Woodward found himself unable to sign any of the trio. Dayot Upamecano was also sought, though his potential signing was delayed by a year.
Despite United missing out on those four players, however, they were happy with their recruitment. They feel they’ve got a squad good enough to challenge for the title and it’s down to Solskjaer to get the best from them.
The Glazers are content with things. They’ve seen Solskjaer weather an early-season storm but a director of football appointment seems a long way off.
Woodward swerved the issue last year, saying: “With regards to the the director of football, lots has been written about this.
“I would say that looking at our structures and looking at how we should strengthen, all areas of the club is something we’re doing on a continual basis.
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“On the football side, we’ve invested around the recruitment side… so the evolution is continuing. In regards to the overall structure, we are looking at that and ways we can make it stronger and it is something we’ll do on a continual basis.”
Solskjaer said earlier in the year that he was content with United’s structure, giving the Glazers even more reason not to change things up.
“We’ve all got different views on how football should be played and how clubs should be run. We’ve got good people running our club,” said the Norwegian.
“There’s always discussions behind the scenes, which people don’t know about, around how we’re doing things and evaluating how we’re doing things.
“It’s a process the club is going through all the time, if we’ve got the right people in the right positions.”
United players may want a technical director.
But, as things stand, that won’t be happening anytime soon.
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