Telegraph Football: Man Utd looking to appoint director of football this summer

Mickeza

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I really don’t get the DOF clamour. Is there anything wrong with who we’ve been targeting the last two years? We seem to have gotten our act together it’s just whether the glazers still keep green lighting the spending that’ll be the issue and that isn’t something a DOF will control. We’re genuinely three players away from a top young side with shed loads of highly rated youth prospects coming through. The constant extending contracts of people we should be selling is still a bit issue though.
 

elmo

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I really don’t get the DOF clamour. Is there anything wrong with who we’ve been targeting the last two years? We seem to have gotten our act together it’s just whether the glazers still keep green lighting the spending that’ll be the issue and that isn’t something a DOF will control. We’re genuinely three players away from a top young side with shed loads of highly rated youth prospects coming through. The constant extending contracts of people we should be selling is still a bit issue though.
Because we keep over paying for players as the people in charge of transfers just don't know how much players are actually worth realistically to get the deal done.

Getting a DOF in to negotiate would do us good in the long run as it'll give us continuity even when we eventually replace managers.
 

elmo

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Who did we overpay for this summer? How would a DOF have convinced Leicester and Palace to sell Maguire and AWB for less?
A DOF would have moved on to other targets to prove that we're not mugs to be taken to the cleaners. We've seen the club constantly delaying transfers every year for their first choice target and it's affected them coming in early to gel with the rest of the team.

A DOF would also have helped us move on the likes of Rojo for realistic prices or even better not have offered them a contract renewal.
 

Himannv

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I really don’t get the DOF clamour. Is there anything wrong with who we’ve been targeting the last two years? We seem to have gotten our act together it’s just whether the glazers still keep green lighting the spending that’ll be the issue and that isn’t something a DOF will control. We’re genuinely three players away from a top young side with shed loads of highly rated youth prospects coming through. The constant extending contracts of people we should be selling is still a bit issue though.
The problem is that the manager plays the role of the DoF at United. Now suppose results are not good enough or we want to change the coach and we appoint someone like Poch for example, we end up with a continuity issue. The new manager wants to play a completely different style of football and so the team he has doesn't quite fit his vision. Cue a spending spree for a few seasons until we do it all over again. This is how United have operated since SAF left and it's why we are in this sort of constant rebuilding phase.
 

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We are going to be linked to DOFs every few months for eternity and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are holding talks with them each time and each time they break down because the prospective DOF begins to understand the scope of the job in offer and realise it’s closer to head scout than it is DOF. Woodward isn’t going to concede his power and responsibilities.
 

Mickeza

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A DOF would have moved on to other targets to prove that we're not mugs to be taken to the cleaners. We've seen the club constantly delaying transfers every year for their first choice target and it's affected them coming in early to gel with the rest of the team.

A DOF would also have helped us move on the likes of Rojo for realistic prices or even better not have offered them a contract renewal.
I think the DOF is being made out to be this all knowing messiah that in reality is a pipe dream. All clubs make transfer mistakes whether they have a DOF or not. There was not a single Harry Maguire alternative who ticked the boxes he ticked. We now have a transfer committee and we’re going after the right players. With the squad we have already, provided we spend the next two summers like we have in the past then we will have to feck up massively to not have a top team capable of challenging for all honours. The summer issues were we only had a 50m budget due to COVID and couldn’t sell due to previous mistakes giving high contracts to players we should be selling. If you look at who we signed with that 50m budget and ignore the chaotic way it was done then you have to conclude we did rather well with it.
 

Maticmaker

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Two years ago this kind of appointment might have paid off, at the point where both Mourinho and Woodward were going 'head to head'. Now it is in danger of become something of a 'poisoned chalice'.

Woodward clearly thinks he's got the right manager and most importantly he has 'the measure 'of that manager and broadly seems to want to move in the same direction, albeit still on his terms. The DoF is now the 'fall guy' post, someone to blame when transfer talks go wrong, someone who can do any 'kicking' of Ole that might be required down the line, including kicking him out, if necessary, someone who can be blamed for everything that goes wrong, but will get no credit when it goes right, that will be shared by the CEO and the Manager.

The longer term 'leg-trap' is what say, if any, will the DoF have on the future of Old Trafford (Theatre of Dreams), do we get a new Stadium, or what?
 

MadDogg

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I think the DOF is being made out to be this all knowing messiah that in reality is a pipe dream. All clubs make transfer mistakes whether they have a DOF or not. There was not a single Harry Maguire alternative who ticked the boxes he ticked. We now have a transfer committee and we’re going after the right players. With the squad we have already, provided we spend the next two summers like we have in the past then we will have to feck up massively to not have a top team capable of challenging for all honours. The summer issues were we only had a 50m budget due to COVID and couldn’t sell due to previous mistakes giving high contracts to players we should be selling. If you look at who we signed with that 50m budget and ignore the chaotic way it was done then you have to conclude we did rather well with it.
Why not? I like Maguire and would have been happy to sign him from Hull back in the day, but he was never worth 80m and (perhaps more importantly) his severe lack of pace may end up being a significant issue for a side wanting to play an aggressive high line. Especially if we expect the fullbacks to provide a fair bit to the attack. Speaking of fullbacks, it's still very debatable whether AWB was the right option. He's probably one of the best pure 1v1 defenders of all time, but otherwise he's average at best at most other aspects. He's young so will hopefully continue to improve but there are definite question marks. It cost us 130m for the two of them. We refused to sign Bruno at the beginning of the season then went back in January and bought him for the same price. There's also large question marks over James.

If we only ever had a 50m budget this season then why the hell did we spend the entire window trying to push for Sancho? We wasted a huge amount of time and made the club look like it was run by amateurs by doing that. Once it was obvious we weren't going to get him we should have pulled out and moved on to other options. And with your mention of mistakes with high contracts, we also still continue to do that. Jones signed a new one 18 months ago and the likes of Williams and Henderson recently signed contracts on quite a lot more than what they 'should' be on at the moment.

A DoF isn't a magic bullet. We might get the wrong one and it doesn't work out. But the odds on somebody who is qualified and has been successfully doing that job elsewhere are much higher than the likes of Woody, Judge and whichever manager those two have hired at the time getting things right. The fact we have a manager established at the moment makes it a bit more difficult, but in reality the DoF should have been appointed after Mourinho was fired and before it was given to Ole permanently.
 

yumtum

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Not possible, pretty sure our new DoF hasn't been born yet - have a little patience.
 

sullydnl

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The problem with the calls for a DOF to be appointed is that we don't know what would actually be within our DOF's job remit.

For example, @elmo mentions above that we need a DOF in to negotiate for players. And I certainly agree as it appears the people who currently handle the negotiations at our club are inept. Yet at many clubs the DOF isn't the person who handles negotiations at all and that may well be the case if we hire one too, with the DOF in effect taking over the role of identifying players rather than actually securing them.

Until we know exactly what roles different people would have under a new structure it's impossible to say how effective it would be. It seems dangerous to just assume that the likes of Woodward and Judge (who I assume oversee the actual business side of transfers, indirectly and directly) would voluntarily give up authority in that area to someone else. And even if we got the structure right, we'd presumably still be relying on those same people who made a mess of the club over the last decade appointing the right people for any new roles.
 

SalfordRed18

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The problem is that the manager plays the role of the DoF at United. Now suppose results are not good enough or we want to change the coach and we appoint someone like Poch for example, we end up with a continuity issue. The new manager wants to play a completely different style of football and so the team he has doesn't quite fit his vision. Cue a spending spree for a few seasons until we do it all over again. This is how United have operated since SAF left and it's why we are in this sort of constant rebuilding phase.
Spot on. The fact that some people don't get this is astonishing.
 

MadDogg

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The problem is that the manager plays the role of the DoF at United. Now suppose results are not good enough or we want to change the coach and we appoint someone like Poch for example, we end up with a continuity issue. The new manager wants to play a completely different style of football and so the team he has doesn't quite fit his vision. Cue a spending spree for a few seasons until we do it all over again. This is how United have operated since SAF left and it's why we are in this sort of constant rebuilding phase.
Yes and no. We do seem to try to give new managers more power than they'd get elsewhere. But, especially after they've already been here for a while, managers tend to struggle to get the players they want. Mourinho most obviously when he wanted Maguire, Perisic and perhaps Willian, while not wanting Martial and Pogba. To some extent you can say that it's a good thing that some of those moves didn't happen, but it certainly shows that the longer he was here the less influence he had in those matters. Solskjaer perhaps had a similar issue this window just gone.
 

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Van Der Sar should be made an offer he can't refuse to become head of all football operations at United. From overseeing general transfer policy, to developing the training ground, deciding the preseason tour etc basically everything that is non-commercial. Everything that he does at Ajax oozes class.

Let Sir Ed set the budget and sign noodle sponsors.
 

macheda14

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Van Der Sar should be made an offer he can't refuse to become head of all football operations at United. From overseeing general transfer policy, to developing the training ground, deciding the preseason tour etc basically everything that is non-commercial. Everything that he does at Ajax oozes class.

Let Sir Ed set the budget and sign noodle sponsors.
He's the CEO and would want that job.
 

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Spot on. The fact that some people don't get this is astonishing.
Please provide evidence to show me that the manager is the DoF rather than Ed Woodward?

When he was appointed Ole said he wanted to play high intensity, high pressing football; just like he’d done with his Molde side. So why sign Harry Maguire; a decent defender but one much better suited to a Jose low block style? Do you really believe that the signing of Pogba was driven by Jose? Ditto Fred?

Clearly the manager has a say, but it’s Woodward and Judge that have the relationships with the agents. Which is one of the key parts of a DoF’s job: being able to work with them and call in favours, without getting bullied.
 

Tiber

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He's the CEO and would want that job.
So people keep saying. Would be interested to know how hands on he is in the commercial side of Ajax considering he has zero experience in running a billion pound business. Does he really micromanage the academy staff pension plans? Is he really excited about the impact of digital marketing trends? Or does he leave it all to the CFO and act as a bit of figurehead?

Regardless of his title at Ajax I reckon he would discuss a powerful football role at United. Whilst serving as CEO of another club, he regularly live tweets our games.
 

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Please provide evidence to show me that the manager is the DoF rather than Ed Woodward?

When he was appointed Ole said he wanted to play high intensity, high pressing football; just like he’d done with his Molde side. So why sign Harry Maguire; a decent defender but one much better suited to a Jose low block style? Do you really believe that the signing of Pogba was driven by Jose? Ditto Fred?

Clearly the manager has a say, but it’s Woodward and Judge that have the relationships with the agents. Which is one of the key parts of a DoF’s job: being able to work with them and call in favours, without getting bullied.
The fact that our style of play and profile of signings has changed under every manager we've had post-saf?

Hence the talk of an actual director of football, where you wouldn't need to constantly rebuild.
 

Skills

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Yes and no. We do seem to try to give new managers more power than they'd get elsewhere. But, especially after they've already been here for a while, managers tend to struggle to get the players they want. Mourinho most obviously when he wanted Maguire, Perisic and perhaps Willian, while not wanting Martial and Pogba. To some extent you can say that it's a good thing that some of those moves didn't happen, but it certainly shows that the longer he was here the less influence he had in those matters. Solskjaer perhaps had a similar issue this window just gone.
Because they've already spent a huge chunk of the money up front, and expect the club to then find more money or take big losses on purchases they've already made to fund more players.

It's an easy way to deflect attention away from their own incompetence onto the club - especially with a fanbase that is besotted with the managers role and piss easy to hoodwink/rile up.
 

macheda14

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So people keep saying. Would be interested to know how hands on he is in the commercial side of Ajax considering he has zero experience in running a billion pound business. Does he really micromanage the academy staff pension plans? Is he really excited about the impact of digital marketing trends? Or does he leave it all to the CFO and act as a bit of figurehead?

Regardless of his title at Ajax I reckon he would discuss a powerful football role at United. Whilst serving as CEO of another club, he regularly live tweets our games.
Well seeing as he did a masters in sports and brand management and then joined Ajax as the Marketing Director from 2012-2016, becoming the CEO 4 years ago, I'm pretty sure he knows a lot more than you'd think.

Here's an article from when he was marketing director.
https://www.marketingweek.com/how-e...from-goalkeeping-giant-to-marketing-director/
 

Skills

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Do you really believe that the signing of Pogba was driven by Jose? Ditto Fred?
To know who really wanted Pogba, you only have to look at the club he was constantly linked to the summer before he was signed by us. Hint : it wasn't us. 2nd hint: it was the club Mourinho was at.
 

Tiber

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Well seeing as he did a masters in sports and brand management and then joined Ajax as the Marketing Director from 2012-2016, becoming the CEO 4 years ago, I'm pretty sure he knows a lot more than you'd think.

Here's an article from when he was marketing director.
https://www.marketingweek.com/how-e...from-goalkeeping-giant-to-marketing-director/
Fair response, though 4 commercial experience years still feels a rapid rise to become CEO of a business with a huge turnover. Maybe i'm wrong and he really has developed into someone as interested in the finance side of the sport.

His wife illness, a desire to settle down close to family etc would also be compelling reasons not to swap Ajax for a role at United. Shame really, I think he would be fantastic running the football side of United and would be the best possible man for the job...and I don't see him or any former player ever becoming our CEO.
 

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Would imagine DoF is not only about transfers, i mean, who ever made a decision to switch from LvG to JM shouldnt be in position to make any calls when it comes to football matters. Players like Blind paid the price for it etc.
 

MadDogg

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Please provide evidence to show me that the manager is the DoF rather than Ed Woodward?

When he was appointed Ole said he wanted to play high intensity, high pressing football; just like he’d done with his Molde side. So why sign Harry Maguire; a decent defender but one much better suited to a Jose low block style? Do you really believe that the signing of Pogba was driven by Jose? Ditto Fred?

Clearly the manager has a say, but it’s Woodward and Judge that have the relationships with the agents. Which is one of the key parts of a DoF’s job: being able to work with them and call in favours, without getting bullied.
Maguire and Pogba were both manager choices. Hell we refused to sign Maguire for 10m less the season before, and then he was very quickly made a captain by Ole. Chelsea quite publicly wanted Pogba the previous season while Mourinho was there.

Personally I don't think Fred was first choice for Mourinho, but not being first choice doesn't mean he wasn't high up there.
 

sammsky1

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Maguire and Pogba were both manager choices. Hell we refused to sign Maguire for 10m less the season before, and then he was very quickly made a captain by Ole. Chelsea quite publicly wanted Pogba the previous season while Mourinho was there.

Personally I don't think Fred was first choice for Mourinho, but not being first choice doesn't mean he wasn't high up there.
That’s nonsense. well it certainly wasn’t the manager employed at the time who originally wanted either.
 

Mickeza

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The problem is that the manager plays the role of the DoF at United. Now suppose results are not good enough or we want to change the coach and we appoint someone like Poch for example, we end up with a continuity issue. The new manager wants to play a completely different style of football and so the team he has doesn't quite fit his vision. Cue a spending spree for a few seasons until we do it all over again. This is how United have operated since SAF left and it's why we are in this sort of constant rebuilding phase.
I would absolutely get that argument two years ago but clearly the club decided to go a different direction in Mourinho’s third summer. That direction wasn’t because of Ole, Ole is following that direction. Ever since then it’s been a policy of purchasing young players with high potential and their peak in front of them. How is Poch, Rose or Leipzig man who I can’t spell continuity issues? They’d all favour young talent to develop with a high pressing game. Any squad Ole leaves behind is going to capable of playing their styles. It’s also going to be one of the most exciting in Europe if we spend the next few windows. It’s precisely because we’re trying to sign the right players and supposedly monitoring the right managers that I don’t get the clamour for a DOF. For years I was moaning on here when we got LVG and then Jose signing Zlatan/Mikhi/Angel/BSW etc about us not having a clear strategy. We just went from one short term whim to the next. That isn’t the case anymore. There is now an actual vision and it’s starting to show on the pitch. We’re still 18 months away but I think we’ll get there.
 

MadDogg

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That’s nonsense. well it certainly wasn’t the manager employed at the time who originally wanted either.
Why?

Just because Mourinho and Pogba didn't end up working out doesn't mean he didn't want him in the first place. It was obviously a situation where club and manager both strongly wanted him. And why would the club go out of their way to sign an 80m defender that they refused to pay 70m for the season before, and the manager then almost instantly make him captain if he didn't actually want him?
 

Chesterlestreet

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He's the CEO and would want that job.
He should get it, then.

All available evidence indicates that he'd be a better alternative than Woodward.

And he actually "knows the club" (whatever that means), for those who consider this an important factor.
 

sammsky1

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Why?

Just because Mourinho and Pogba didn't end up working out doesn't mean he didn't want him in the first place. It was obviously a situation where club and manager both strongly wanted him. And why would the club go out of their way to sign an 80m defender that they refused to pay 70m for the season before, and the manager then almost instantly make him captain if he didn't actually want him?
It’s stated fact that interest started long before Mourinho arrived.
Mourinho was willing for it to go ahead (compromise) but Pogba is not a type of player Mourinho typically loves to sign.
 

Chesterlestreet

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Just because Mourinho and Pogba didn't end up working out doesn't mean he didn't want him in the first place.
Correct.

In fact, everything we know would indicate that Jose did want him (he wanted him when he, Jose, was at Chelsea for one thing - and he has never said anything to indicate that Pogba was forced on him at United, which he could have easily done).
 

MadDogg

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It’s stated fact that interest started long before Mourinho arrived.
Mourinho was willing for it to go ahead (compromise) but Pogba is not a type of player Mourinho typically loves to sign.
So it's just a coincidence that Chelsea were trying to sign him at the beginning of the 15/16 season while Mourinho was there? And then 12 months later when Mourinho had joined us Chelsea no longer showed any real interest but we pushed it through?

We obviously did want him whether Mourinho was here or not. But it is equally obvious that Mourinho also wanted him. He's physically just about a perfect Mourinho target and outrageously talented, everybody expected it to work out well. It was a situation where all three parties (club, manager and player) came together perfectly to make the move happen. Unfortunately it ended up being a case that Mourinho wanted Pogba to play differently than he had previously, and Pogba ended up struggling to do so consistently.
 

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It’s stated fact that interest started long before Mourinho arrived.
Mourinho was willing for it to go ahead (compromise) but Pogba is not a type of player Mourinho typically loves to sign.
Chelsea were constantly linked with him during Mourinho’s second spell there. Perhaps that was Abramovich but I don’t remember Mourinho bring anything other than massively enthusiastic about Pogba at the beginning.