Manchester United are targeting a new appointment to aid John Murtough after it became clear his workload is ‘too much’, according to reports. The Red Devils chief was promoted from head of football development to football director in March last year. Yet, now, the Glazers, Richard Arnold and other board members are set to take more action as they aim to restructure the club.
United announced the appointment of Murtough last year, while also hiring Darren Fletcher as technical director.
The pair oversaw the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer transfer window, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager.
Yet despite United tweaking their set-up, results have continued to disappoint.
The Red Devils have endured a chastening campaign so far, with Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton another bad day at the office.
Now, The Athletic say figures within United believe Murtough’s workload has become ‘too much’.
Numerous departments and people report into the Red Devils chief, including Fletcher.
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So United are ready to take action to ensure he gets support, with the club looking to appoint a ‘deputy football director’ who will work under Murtough.
It’s said they will ‘help strengthen an increasingly prominent side of United’s operations’.
United are already interviewing candidates, with the club looking to emulate, or at least be close to, the structures of Liverpool and Brighton.
Liverpool gave Michael Edwards support with Julian Ward while Brighton had David Weir as an assistant to Dan Ashworth.
The publication states that, at the moment, a timescale for the appointment isn’t known.
If they’re employed elsewhere they may have to work a notice period, which further delays matters.
Yet United want the matter resolved ‘as swiftly as possible’ with a big summer on the horizon.
Results and performances haven’t been good enough this term and the Red Devils have numerous issues they’ll need to tackle come the end of the season.
The biggest is who replaces Ralf Rangnick as interim boss.
Mauricio Pochettino has long been considered the frontrunner, with the Paris Saint-Germain boss ready to leave the Ligue 1 giants for a Premier League return.
Yet Erik ten Hag and Luis Enrique have also been linked, despite the pair currently being employed by Ajax and Spain respectively.
Big players such as Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba could leave on free transfers, with the trio yet to renew their current contracts.
There is uncertainty, too, over Cristiano Ronaldo – with the Portugal international open to leaving should the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.
And United will look to sign a midfielder and striker amid interest in the likes of Declan Rice and Alexander Isak.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier in the season, Murtough elaborated on the club’s decision to sack Solskjaer.
“It’s certainly been a turbulent period since we last met in September,” Murtough told a meeting of the fans’ forum in December.
“We were all feeling optimistic at that time about the strong start to the season.
“There were grounds for confidence that we were going to continue building on the progress we saw in the prior two seasons.
“After the promising early-season results, things went off plan.
“As a club, we felt Ole had earned the right to be given the chance to turn things round, but didn’t get a reaction after the international break, and the Watford game made it clear change was needed.
“We’re all disappointed at Ole’s departure, but he deserves to be judged on his record over the past three years, not his last few weeks – secured our first back-to-back top-three finishes since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and came so close to winning silverware in the Europa League Final last May.
“He re-set the club’s culture and reshaped the squad, leaving us in a stronger position today than when he returned in 2018.”
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