Manchester United have made some debatable signings recently.
Seeing his job profile being transformed from an interim manager to a permanent boss, one of the biggest assignments that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started was to lay the foundations of success which served well under a dynasty built by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Witnessing United’s form nosedive after a dream run to his stint as a United manager, Solskjaer, then, understood the imperative nature of making a wholesale transformation in the operations of the Stretford club.
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Man United manager waited for the summer to begin his ‘rebuild’ job, where the first step was to prepare well during the pre-season fixtures. To complement his work on the pitch, slowly, Solskjaer sidelined members who weren’t fully committed to the project.
Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellaini, Mateo Darmian, and Romelu Lukaku are the first-team members to be shown the door, till now. The departures have been replaced with the freshness of youth via transfer window or academy.
In addition to the playing group, the coaching staff has seen a few changes, too. For optimum conditioning and training, a fresh group of fitness coaches have been recruited and a few tweaks in the technical department, with Emilio Alvarez, goalkeeping coach, being the high-profile departure.
“The signings we made have proven to be good acquisitions and the club – we took a step back and said we need to change the culture, change a few things – and I’ve been able to make decisions with their backing.”
“For me, the group with the coaches is a great environment to work in. It’s a great feeling when you’re always looking forward to coming in and seeing everyone, which is one of the first steps we made. We needed to create an environment which is both challenging but also developing for the players.” (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Sky Sports)
The arrivals, order-wise, of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, and Odion Ighalo have all aligned with the model of players Solskjaer wants at the club. A kindred spirit and camaraderie among the squad members is a fair reflection of the ‘cultural reset’.
For sustaining the recruitment model, and considering how modern football hierarchy functions, a Director of Football has emerged as an essential job profile in a boardroom. Man United have drawn the flak, in recent years, by failing to replace David Gill, who had a similar task under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent term, the director of football has been on the agenda for Ed Woodward, having had talks with Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand over the role of a transfer advisor.
As per reports from The Telegraph, Manchester United have reignited their search for a Director of Football. However, the role is simply to fuse with the current technical committee rather than pulling the strings in the transfer market.
Currently, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and first-team coach Mike Phelan alongside the union of analysts and scouting chiefs constitute the transfer committee. A director of football would just be an added figure who is expected to work parallel to Matt Judge, the head of transfer negotiations.
Inserting a Director of Football could shred the load of extra transfer meetings that Solskjaer has to attend for chalking the list of recruitment targets, allowing the manager to focus more towards the sporting aspect of the club.
Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta, Juventus’ Fabio Paratici, and Antero Henrique, ex PSG sporting director, are the potential suitors for the role which would be filled for the first time by Manchester United.
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