Manchester United’s search for a football director is finally over.
United announced the appointment of John Murtough as football director, while also installing Darren Fletcher as the club’s technical director. Both appointments are internal.
Murtough, who joined the club in November 2013, will have the responsibility of leading and overseeing operations across United’s men’s and women’s teams, including the academy.
This will include heading up United’s transfer strategy, liaising with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regarding recruitment ‘to ensure that the first team has the best-in-class operations support it needs to succeed’.
Fletcher rejoined United as a first-team coach in January, and the 37-year-old will offer ‘technical input and direction into all football and performance areas’ as technical director.
With United looking to consolidate a possible runners-up position in the Premier League, this summer’s transfer policy could have huge ramifications on future title aspirations – it’s perhaps a sliding doors moment.
Murtough will play a key role in United’s decisions in the transfer market going forward – here are three things he needs to address right this year…
Pogba’s future needs addressing
United were left in an uncomfortable position in December when Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, said his client’s Old Trafford career was ‘over’.
To Pogba’s credit, his performances on the pitch since those revelations have been nothing short of outstanding, and his professionalism should be lauded. The 27-year-old’s current deal expires next summer, though.
With contract negotiations yet to start at United over a new deal, and with several clubs interested in securing his signature, Pogba’s future needs immediately addressed.
Pogba is arguably the only world-class player United lay claim to, but if he desires a move away from the North West, no player is bigger than United and he should be allowed to leave.
The Sancho transfer saga
Since Jadon Sancho’s move to Borussia Dortmund four years ago, the youngster has established himself as one of Europe’s most exciting young attacking forwards.
His trickery, composure and finishing ability have sealed Sancho’s potential as a generational talent, and it’s not surprising that United have long been interested in securing his services.
However, the Sancho transfer saga needs a conclusion this summer.
Sancho has six goals and 11 assists for Dortmund this season, and while his contribution continues to impress, United have a dilemma that needs solving.
Signing a centre-forward is one of United’s summer priorities and, considering Edinson Cavani’s future at the club has just been thrown into uncertainty, this needs addressing. Do United sign a traditional striker, as opposed to a modern-day forward?
Of course, Sancho would fill the mould of the latter, and Murtough and Fletcher would have to decide if he could provide enough goals to fire United towards the Premier League title.
Maguire requires an elite partner
History has consistently shown you need two world-class central defenders to mount a serious title charge in the Premier League and this is an area in which United fall short.
Harry Maguire is an excellent centre-back, but form and fitness problems continue to plague Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
There’s no doubt over their ability as sufficient squad players, but if Murtough wants to take the club to the next level, this will be another problem that needs addressing.
United’s captain simply needs an elite partner.