Home » Five signings that highlight Dougie Freedman’s credentials as a potential Manchester United sporting director

Five signings that highlight Dougie Freedman’s credentials as a potential Manchester United sporting director

by Alex Browne
Dougie Freedman

Dougie Freedman has been linked regularly to a key role in INEOS’ supposed new look footballing department at Manchester United.

The Peoples Person has reported in the past about Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s interest in bringing in the former Crystal Palace striker as sporting director.

However there has been mixed feeling about such a move. Rio Ferdinand was left “bemused” to why United would have any interest in bringing in the Palace sporting director as nobody thinks “wow” when they look at the job he has done in South London.

The former United defender claimed names like Paul Mitchell or Dan Ashworth were much more deserving of the role.

However, the former Scottish international retains the support of one key figure, Sir Alex Ferguson. Freedman has reportedly been “mentored for many years by fellow Glaswegian, Sir Alex” and this may give him some advantage in the race for a key job in an INEOS led United.

Subsequently, givemesport.com have seen fit to rank the Crystal Palace director’s best ever signings.

The website argues that Freedman’s decision to switch jobs from manager to sporting director has “been a pretty successful career change so far”.

Here is the list of players that represent the Scotsman’s best work as sporting director.

5) Michael Olise

Olise was snapped up from Championship side Reading in 2021 for his release clause of £8m. Despite taking some time to settle, “with ten assists and two goals last campaign, he has developed into a solid first-team player, with plenty more room to grow and become a true star for the club”.

The winger’s rapid rise was highlighted as Chelsea desperately tried to sign the winger during the summer window before he committed his future to the Eagles.

4) Cheick Doucoure

The article states, “signed in the summer of 2022 for £18m plus add-ons, Cheick Doucoure has been an instant hit at Selhurst Park, becoming a key figure for the team in the middle of the pitch and winning Palace’s Player of the Year award in his very first campaign”.

Despite injuries this season, the 23 year old is considered “a gem” that will be at the club for a long time unless a giant bid comes in.

3) Joachim Andersen

Having spent £15m on the defender back in 2021, he is now seen as one of Freedman’s biggest transfer successes. The outlet asserts, “he came in and had an immediate impact too. He’s shone at the back for the club and this year is no different. Through the first 14 games of the season, only five teams have conceded fewer goals than Palace”.

2) Marc Guehi

Guehi is probably the most obvious name on the list for Man United fans. This is due to the fact the player has been regularly linked to the club and is seen as a major target to bolster the Old Trafford’s side flailing defence.

Bought from Chelsea for £18m in 2021, alongside Andersen, the Englishman helped transform Palace’s defence. Having gone from conceding 66 goals in the 2020/21 season, the team from South London conceded 20 fewer goals the season after, largely because of Freedman’s two defensive signings.

The young defender has seen numerous Three Lions appearances since and is likely to fetch over £50m in the summer window, as Premier League giants circle.

1) Eberechi Eze

Eze lands number one on the list and the outlet is understandably complimentary. They claim that “Eberechi Eze has become an absolutely sensational bit of business for the club and looks like the perfect player to replace the legendary Wilfried Zaha”.

Another buy from the Championship, coming from Queen’s Park Rangers for £16m in 2020, it is another example of Freedman’s eye for future potential. He is said to transform the team when he plays and there “is no telling on how good he will be” in the future.

Clearly, Freedman has a clear type of player in mind. Givemesport assert that “the sporting director clearly has an eye for youth and wants to recruit the brightest young prospects that he can get his hands on”. The outlet claims this approach would benefit United immensely instead of always targeting the biggest names whether they fit or not.

This critique is a fair one, however, in the interest of fairness, Palace and United have very different ambitions and with respect, incredibly different expectations. Some of the players mentioned on the list took time to settle and they may not get this breathing space in a pressure cooker atmosphere like Old Trafford.

What is for sure, is if Freedman becomes the sporting director, fans of the Red Devils will be hoping for more under the radar young signings that grow with the team into global superstars. We await INEOS’ completion of the partial takeover and decision on sporting roles with bated breath.

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