After a disappointing season for Manchester United, one positive to come out of the campaign was the club’s reported pursuit of a sporting director.
Reports in recent months had suggested the club were looking to appoint someone to the role before the start of the next season, and there were even claims that United legend Rio Ferdinand was in the frame to take on the job.
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Instead, a few months later, United have no-one to show for it and are staring down the business end of a transfer window that is threatening to spiral out of control.
More than anything, the sporting director would have provided greater clarity. For far too long, criticism has been aimed at United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over his apparent influence on the footballing side of things despite his relative lack of experience or inside knowledge.
Appointing someone like a Ferdinand would have given the club a figurehead to rally around and an authoritative presence of whom people would know what their job was. In contrast, United’s work in the summer transfer market – both in terms of incomings and outgoings – has been muddled to say the least.
Their reported interest in Bruno Fernandes has developed into somewhat of a parody. Ander Herrera’s comments that United left it “too late” over reaching an agreement with him was a damning statement of their indecisiveness. And the cherry on top – Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, continues to run rings around the Old Trafford bureaucrats with his finely-tuned PR machine.
The club look totally out of their depth from top to bottom and it’s hard to shake off the nagging feeling that they would have been better served by showing some due diligence and getting a deal done for a sporting director, before they made any moves in the transfer market.
The next three to four weeks are set to define United’s future not just for next season, but for the following ones too. If things don’t work out, they will certainly regret not following through on grabbing their very own transfer guru.