Manchester United have a very inefficient way of dealing with transfers because the clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward is not the authoritative figure that can get the business done quickly and successfully. For years now, we have seen United taking a lackadaisical approach to signings, chasing a player who is not even interested in a move for an entire summer, with the player than using that advantage to sign a new number contract with his current club – Sergio Ramos for example and he is just one of many.
United will need to bring someone into the club that can get the business done quickly, not making a comedy show out of transfers, also not letting them run throughout the summer with the media turning them into a soap opera script. United will need to find someone to do the business quickly. This is something that was first leaked out of the club as Jose Mourinho was sacked but then as United started to do much better on the football pitch, all talk of hiring a director of football stopped.
Then, when United regressed on the football pitch again, the rumours started with the media linking former players such as; Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher with the position. What happened then? Nothing. Now, as United were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup by Chelsea in the semi-final last weekend then failed to beat West Ham United to go into the final match of the Premier League season with an advantage over the two clubs that could end the UEFA Champions League dream; Chelsea and Leicester City – with United player the latter, the talk has started again.
Is this really going to happen or is it just more talk to placate the season ticket holders, official members and merchandise buyers? At the moment at United, new signings will have to be authorised by Woodward and the Glazers, which is a process that seems archaic in football right now with United seemingly, at least so far, refusing to join the modern day approach and have a director of football to make all of the decisions regarding signings, dealing with selling players and everything else.
If that happens, then Woodward could go back to doing what he does the best – bringing in the money. On a commercial scale, Woodward is one of the reasons why United have been so successful financially, despite the fact that the Glazers seem to be taking a lot of money away from the club in dividends, sold shares and other things. This is not going to make United successful on the pitch, which funnily enough is where and why the money started to roll in like it has been. United are a business first and a football team second – it should be the other way around.
Journalist Duncan Castles has a podcast called The Transfer Window podcast and obviously he talks about football, mainly the transfer window and many other things. It is not hard to work that bit out, is it? The journalist was reliable when Jose Mourinho was at the club but in terms of getting things right now, he is not as good as he used to be – but that is just my opinion. I don’t tend to trust journalists for information as all journalists have sources and they are not always the same. The information can change quickly, making them look wrong. Castles on his podcast, reported by The Sun, said:
“They don’t have a director of football to improve the recruitment at the club. They have Matt Judge who is in charge of negotiating contracts, talking to agents, and doing the information on the financial side of deals.
“Other people make the footballing decisions and ultimately things go through Ed Woodward and the Glazers before approval being granted.
“So it is an inefficient way of working in that you have a person who is the frontman for the club on a negotiation basis who doesn’t have the authority to make final decisions himself.
“The way it’s described to me from people who deal with Manchester United is they have these information-gathering exercises but there’s not the capacity to get deals aggressively advanced during those negotiations.
“They always have to wait for the go-ahead from other individuals before deals happen and that’s the path that Manchester United have chosen to go down.
“I think it reflects the way that the Glazers want to keep control over the purse strings and Ed Woodward wants to keep a degree of control over recruitment decisions at the club.
“They will argue that they’re moving forward and in the right direction but what I can say is a lot of people aren’t convinced that it is the best way to work during transfer deals.”
The summer transfer window will open on Monday and many will be hoping, including myself, that United actually get something done quickly, especially in the fact that the new Premier League season will start on the 12 September 2020, around a month later than it would usually start. The transfer window will be open until the first week of October but that does not mean United will have plenty of time. United could earn UEFA Champions League football by avoiding defeat to Leicester City on Sunday, which might help their pursuit of some better players this summer.
Written by John Walker