Manchester United’s new-look transfer team, including manager Erik ten Hag and directors John Murtough and Darren Fletcher has got off to a slow start, with Michael Edwards now touted as a target
In the last 12 months, the Red Devils have commenced a radical overhaul of their structure behind the scenes, amid their longest trophy drought in a generation. Former chief executive Ed Woodward has borne the brunt of United fans’ frustrations for the last decade, overseeing a period of decline at Old Trafford.
Woodward was said to have had a controlling hand in recruitment, with United wasting upwards of a billion pounds since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. He has now left the club, with Richard Arnold taking his place as CEO, John Murtough appointed as the club’s first Football Director and Darren Fletcher named Technical Director.
Those changes have also been replicated in the dugout after Erik ten Hag was appointed First Team Manager for the new season. But despite the constant changes it has been a frustrating start to the window, with United left watching on as their competition strengthens.
While United have yet to sign a single player, north west rivals Liverpool have already completed their transfer business, bringing in Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez and Calvin Ramsay before they even return for pre-season. Those deals have been negotiated by Julian Ward, who in turn replaced the legendary Michael Edwards at Anfield.
During his 11-year stay at Liverpool, Edwards progressed from technical analyst all the way to sporting director, helping build a side which has seen the Merseysiders return to the peak of world football. Under his stewardship, Liverpool have signed a who’s who of modern-day Kop greats including Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Alisson Becker and the recently departed Sadio Mane.
As well as supplementing Jurgen Klopp’s squad with high-quality signings, Edwards has also earned a reputation for constantly selling players well above their market value. Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez moves to Barcelona are the headline acts, but a variety of deals have ensured the club have been able to operate free from the burden of massive losses.
He departed Liverpool at the end of the season and MailOnline report that United are now hoping to tempt him to Manchester, with a view to taking up a role in their ongoing recruitment reshuffle. It remains to be seen where Edwards would fit into the management structure at Carrington, but there is no need for any guesses into why he’s in such demand.
And while another appointment is said to be ‘not imminent’ there is an acceptance that the processes in place must be under constant review. Along with Edwards, United are said to have shortlisted Middlesbrough’s head of football Kieron Scott and Brentford’s director of recruitment Lee Dykes.
Meanwhile, Chelsea, who are undergoing huge changes of their own, are also keen to acquire Edwards, but the former Liverpool chief is reluctant to jump straight back into a role after a decade-plus at the top of the English game.
Unlike at United, there does appear to be a vacant role at Stamford Bridge, after it was announced their own transfer supremo Marina Granovskaia would be leaving the Londoners following the takeover by Todd Boehly. The American is reportedly filling in as interim sporting director, with an eye on a permanent appointment down the line.