Transfer Focus: Paul Mitchell the transfer guru Man United need

According to reports from Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are considering offering a role to Paul Mitchell.

What’s the word?

After some phenomenal success at Southampton and Tottenham, Paul Mitchell is a man in hot demand, with MEN claiming United and local rivals City are both interested in appointing him in differing capacities once his gardening leave at Spurs comes to an end. The one-time MK Dons player is part scout and part recruitment director and whilst City view him as a potential addition to their global operation, although they have no plans to appoint him to any role as of yet, the Red Devils seemingly want him to play a more direct part in their transfer policy.

Track Record?

You’ll struggle to find a recruitment director with a stronger track record than Mitchell over the last few years. He brought the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Sadio Mane and Dejan Lovren to St. Mary’s – all of whom left for Liverpool in ridiculously lucrative deals – and had a similar effect at Tottenham Hotspur, his biggest achievement being the capture of Dele Alli for just £5million.

Mitchell was aware of the midfielder’s progress at his former club and worked with David Pleat to bring him to White Hart Lane. He also poached Toby Alderweireld from Saints, via Atletico, and clearly has a good eye for not only a talented player but what his manager needs.

The only reason his Tottenham tenure ended under a dark cloud is because he’d grown disillusioned with the way they conduct their business, particularly over a deal for Michy Batshuayi – who ended up signing for bitter rivals Chelsea instead – as reported by London Evening Standard.

Do United need a transfer guru?

Most definitely. Whilst Jose Mourinho appeared to have a relatively strong handle on transfer affairs last summer, bringing in four players that have since established themselves pretty comfortably in his starting XI – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba – the club still spent a staggering £157million and their overall strategy since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement four years ago has been, quite simply, to throw money at every problem with blockbuster transfer budgets.

That can only get United so far and whilst Ed Woodwood is clearly a shrewd businessman – he’s turned United into an incredible commercial force – some of his transfer dealings have raised eyebrows. Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin all went on to fail at Old Trafford and fans are still puzzled as to how super-agents Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes seemingly squeezed so much money out of the club last summer.

Bringing in someone to oversee transfers would not only ease United’s reliance on such relationships and free up Woodward’s time for purely business matters, but also allow them to pinpoint lesser-known recruits capable of making the step up, such as Sadio Mane at Southampton and Dele Alli at Spurs. Likewise, it will allow for greater continuity should United change managers in the next few years – Mourinho’s contract will expire in 2019.