From Italy: Manchester United scout Javier Ribalta considering leaving for Zenit Saint Petersburg

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United scout Javier Ribalta is considering leaving his role as senior scout in order to join Zenit Saint Petersburg, according to reports from Italy.

The Italian previously worked at Juventus, where he had an important role in the successful transfer strategy of signing ageing players determined to prove themselves such as Dani Alves and Mario Mandzukic, and on the other hand bringing in young talents like Douglas Costa.

He joined the club last year and has overseen the arrivals of Diogo Dalot and Fred; recent lack of activity at Old Trafford, however, is potential a sign of things not being well.

And according to Juventus specialist Luca Momblano, Ribalta is considering switching amid a difficult transfer window for Man United.

If you wanted a sign from behind the scenes that all is not well at Old Trafford, this is a pretty concrete one right here.

Ribalta was hired to change the club’s transfer strategy – to opt for a different kind of player and break the cycle of making big signings without an overarching long term plan regarding how to use them.

The arrival of Dalot and Fred was the start of that. But the radio silence since then – save for Lee Grant – suggests a potential disjunct between what Ribalta is trying to do and what Mourinho wants.

You can be pretty sure Ribalta, one of the finest scouts out there, presented Mourinho with a list of central midfielders – or even just one – who he could realistically sign, only for the 55-year-old to focus on tying Marouane Fellaini down instead.

United’s transfer window is sliding towards an unwelcome deadlock. And Ribalta, from the inside, clearly sees the situation as untenable, which tells you plenty about how this summer has gone for the club.

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