Ed Woodward breaks silence on director of football role at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Ed Woodward produced an evasive answer when asked about installing a director of football role at Manchester United.

Supporters have grown increasingly wary of the directionless transfer policy employed at Old Trafford, which still allows for the manager to pick targets. Alexis Sanchez is the latest symptom of this defected and backward approach to signings.

The sacking of Jose Mourinho and appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager in December appeared to represent a precursor to the club working to install a director of football.

But Woodward, when asked about the topic, gave an answer which you can only describe as a diplomatic fudge, vaguely noting how the club was assessing all elements of its structure.


Man United’s executive vice-chairman was speaking at a conference call where he acknowledged, like Solskjaer on Tuesday, that this club should be among the elite in Europe.

What can Woodward learn from the Paris Saint Germains and Barcelonas of this world? Well, quite a lot, actually. A key lesson, one perennially ignored, is that a director of football – somebody there to focus entirely on a long term footballing strategy – must be in place if any club wishes to remain constantly at the top.

Surely Woodward must be aware of the inherent futility and inefficiency that comes with vesting transfer policy into the hands of a manager who may not even be at Old Trafford in a year’s time.

If United does want to be an elite club, it must start thinking like one.

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