Manchester United to resume search for technical director

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Harry Maguire
At £80m, Manchester United's acquisition of Harry Maguire from Leicester in the transfer window was the biggest deal in the Premier League

Manchester United will turn their attention to appointing a technical director now their summer transfer window business is complete.

United's initial intention was to make an appointment before Jose Mourinho's successor as manager was confirmed.

But for this window, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer operated within the existing recruitment structure.

The club spent £140m on the signings of defenders Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and winger Daniel James.

When Solskjaer was given the job on a permanent basis on 28 March, club insiders said the role would be filled by the start of the season.

Former players Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand spoke to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward a number of weeks ago.

Although it is understood there has been no further face-to-face contact, Woodward has kept the pair informed about changes to the timescale for an appointment.

No offer has been made and it is thought the role would not involve negotiating with or signing transfer targets.

At Friday's news conference, an upbeat Solskjaer played down questions about any frustration over a lack of more signings, replying that there was a "great feeling of relief" the transfer window is closed.

"That's not the feeling inside the club and the feeling with the fans I've met are excited with the ones we've had," said the Norwegian, whose side open their Premier League campaign at home against Chelsea on Sunday (16:30 BST kick-off).

"There are always going to be fans out there wanting to sign players - that's part and parcel of being here. The players are here now and have been shown the trust, and we believe in them."

Social media unrest

But not everyone thinks United have had a good transfer window.

In particular, many fans on social media feel United made an error in not attempting to sign midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.

It was also suggested their interest in Argentina forward Paulo Dybala was used as a smokescreen given they have been unable to sign an additional forward, as it had been obvious for some time that Romelu Lukaku would be leaving at some stage.

At one point on Thursday, #WoodwardOutexternal-link - calling for the executive vice-chairman to leave his job - was trending in the UK with more than 50,000 tweets, second only to #DeadlineDay in terms of football-related tweets.

United have failed to mount a sustained Premier League title challenge in the six seasons since Woodward replaced former chief executive David Gill.

Fan @SteveCapes94,external-link who has just over 100 Twitter followers, said: "If you're in charge of the world's biggest football club and haven't come close to a league title in your six-year time in charge. You have to look at yourself and admit you can't do your job." This tweet has been liked more than 1,500 times.

The Glazers Out movement, which is trying to generate enough support to unseat United's owners, called the club's transfer window business "abysmal".

United 'need time'

United regard their summer outlay as significant and believe, after last season's sixth-placed finish, 32 points behind champions Manchester City, it was always known it would take more than a single window to rectify their problems.

They also point to a number of new contracts - those for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial which have already been done, and David de Gea's, which is due to be completed in the coming weeks - as proof of a rebuild.

In addition, they feel the performances of 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood in particular during the club's pre-season tour of Australia and Asia offers hope for the future and underlines their continuing commitment to developing first-team players from their academy.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC