Who is to blame for the holding up Manchester United’s squad improvement this summer? Ed Woodward or Jose Mourinho?

Well, Manchester United fans it’s been a frustrating summer, hasn’t it? But in my opinion, there has been no bigger frustration than the club not making more improvements to the squad. Finishing 19 points behind Manchester City last season told everyone vast improvements to the squad were needed and that meant it was time for Manchester United Chief Executive Ed Woodward to deliver.

The summer of 2013 was Ed Woodward’s first transfer window as executive vice-chairman at the club. Along with new manager David Moyes, they endured a frustrating and embarrassing transfer window, repeatedly missing out on key targets and as a result, we all know how that season ended don’t we?…

Since then Woodward has delivered a fair share of transfer targets for his managers but has also missed out on a fair few too. There is a firm belief that while Woodward has been fantastic at building the brand that is Manchester United, his lack of footballing knowledge means that he is unable to negotiate on a footballing level. People may argue that the Old Trafford chief has deals for Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku amongst others on his CV, but you have to say that both of those deals had huge commercial implications and therefore brought Woodward in to his element.

This summer, Ed Woodward has so far managed to bring in two signings, if they are not to make another signing before the 9 August and sell the likes of Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling for the reported fees, then United could end the summer with a £20 million net spend. This would not be the statement summer the fans would have wanted and manager Jose Mourinho would have expected. You could also say this is not the actions of a club who’s Chief Executive claims his club “can do things in the transfer market that other clubs can only dream of” back in January.

People will argue that Ed Woodward can’t take all the blame for this underwhelming summer of business though. The type of player that Manager Jose Mourinho has targeted has sometimes left people raising their eyebrows; amongst these people may also be Woodward and owners of the club, the Glazer family.

Mourinho and the board seem to be at odds about the type of player that should be wearing a Manchester United shirt. This has really shown this summer and is a reason for the lack of movement in the transfer market. Some examples of this are: First of all, It’s believed that Mourinho is open to the sale of Anthony Martial this summer. However, the club sees potential in Martial and firmly believes he can become a successful United player hence why they made a huge investment in him in three years ago. Whilst you can see where the club is coming from in the case of the Frenchman, you have to question who is be better placed to judge a player, the manager or the board?

In addition to this, the board may be concerned that Mourinho wants to replace Martial with functional, defensive-minded wingers like Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic, and Willian. I feel there has been a reluctance to do deals for these types of players because with due respect the club doesn’t believe they fit the mold of a traditional United winger, something that is up for debate of course.

The board and many supporters may question the central defenders that The Portuguese manager has asked for this summer. It seems the top target all summer has been Tottenham Hotspur’s, Toby Alderweireld. At 29 years of age, with Tottenham wanting a reported £60 million fee for a player that is coming in to the last year of his contract and who has only recently returned from an injury that saw him miss most of last season you can understand the reluctance to do a deal.

Mourinho has already spent healthily since he arrived as a manager in 2016, which I believe is fair enough I also think it’s fair enough if he believes he requires more. Surely United should back him, as manager of the football club he is best placed to know what this team needs in order to get back to the top of the English game. If not, then what was the point in giving him a new contract to then ignore his demands?

In this ongoing battle at Manchester United, I can’t help but take Mourinho’s corner. For me, the current situation this summer should sit with the board. Can the club realistically make a challenge for the Premier League with the current squad? We need to hope that’s what the board wants rather than the belief that fourth place is good enough and will keep the sponsors sweet. For Woodward and the club not to back the manager, they chose to take club forward just makes no sense.


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