The club are now ready to appoint someone to the position as the executive vice-chairman has been stung by recent criticism of his performance
Manchester United are finally ready to appoint a director of football after Ed Woodward came under sustained criticism from fans and investors.
The club have been discussing the role, envisaged to take charge of transfer activity, for more than a year, but until now have failed to make any serious progress following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed in his place and it had been suggested that he would soon be supported by a director of football to head up the club’s recruitment strategy, and organise their scouting network.
Mourinho had wanted to reform the scouting setup which ran to more than 50 different scouts across the world, and the Portuguese also grew frustrated with Woodward’s approach to transfers. He had wanted to bring in Toby Alderweireld from Tottenham at the start of last season, but Woodward was unwilling to pay up for the Belgian as he did not feel he was better than United’s defensive roster at the time.
United subsequently bought defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire in the most recent summer window as Solskjaer identified the defence as a particularly weak area of the squad with both Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling leaving for Italy.
Now on their fourth permanent manager since the retirement of Alex Ferguson, Woodward wants to bring some planning and stability to the transfer side of the club. They have spent over £840 million ($1.1 billion) on players since David Moyes’ appointment, and have just the League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League to show for it.
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Woodward has been known to be hurt by recent criticism, including his new reported nickname as ‘the most hated man in football.’ He has previously boasted of United’s prowess in the transfer market, but the high-profile failure of big names such as Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as well as expensive mistakes such as Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, have put him under increasing scrutiny.
United’s executive vice-chairman has been targeted by fans for United’s poor performances on the pitch, with fans paying to fly a plane with a banner describing Woodward as ‘still failing’ for the match against Liverpool. The club was today criticised by one of its biggest shareholders, the BAMCO fund, for the poor results from its transfers.
There has been no indication yet as to who will take over as director of football, but former players Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand have been consulted over the role.