Manchester United are targeting Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta to become the club’s new director of football.
Berta is a key strategist at Atletico and has been responsible for a number of important signings.
Man United are looking to appoint a director of football for the first time, with transfers and football matters usually managed by the Chief Executive of the club, who also oversees the commercial side of things.
That role is currently fulfilled by Ed Woodward, who many agree has a number of faults in terms of his long-term version at Old Trafford.
James Robson of the Evening Standard suggests that Berta is high on a shortlist of names compiled by Woodward.
That list also includes Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici, the man who masterminded Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Turin in the summer, and RB Leipzig head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, formerly of Southampton where he was a talent-spotter.
Previous reports have suggested that Woodward is keen for United to follow in the example of other clubs and become a side that brings in young players with great potential and moulds them. That would explain why he is interested in Mitchell, with Leipzig and Southampton both being clubs who adhere to such a philosophy.
That belief was reportedly why Woodward was against signing 29-year-old Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld in the summer, despite a request from manager Jose Mourinho.
Berta, meanwhile, joined Atletico Madrid in 2013 from Serie A team Genoa. As a scout, he was important, but was promoted to oversee a great deal at the club, including the first team, youth and recruitment.
The Evening Standard credits Berta with the signings of Antoine Griezmann and goalkeeper Jan Oblak who joined Atleti at the ages of 23 and 21 respectively and cost a combined €46 million. Were both to be sold today, they would generate at least €200 million between them.
Paratici has had huge success at Juventus, not only with Ronaldo. He also brought in Leonardo Bonucci and Emre Can on free transfers and oversaw the signings of Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa.
Berta is seen as the best candidate at providing a “buffer” between Woodward and Mourinho, though. He currently tops an extensive shortlist.