Do Manchester United Need A Director Of Football?

Since the season ended many United fans have been desperate for new signings to be made before the World Cup in an effort to undo the damage that had been dealt in the David Moyes reign. We are now well into the World Cup in Brazil and United are still to make a first team addition to their squad leaving many believing United could suffer the same fate as they did last Summer when the club chased unrealistic targets for far too long, only to end up overpaying and panic buying a tree that goes by the name of Marouane Fellaini.

While it may be too early to start panicking just yet I can understand why some United fans are starting to get twitchy, United can’t afford another transfer window like last year and if they do then the club will probably be out of Champions League contention for a few seasons at the very least.  Therefore this window has so much pressure on it and is arguably the biggest Summer for United in years with defence and midfield a top priority for new boss Louis van Gaal.  United CEO Ed Woodward has not helped himself by briefing the media constantly in the last few months that United would do some of their business early avoid a repeat of the last Summer transfer window.

Woodward’s job should be on the line as it is widely regarded that he is as much responsible for United current plight as Moyes was, Woodward tried to be be too cute in the market and is rumoured to have been overwhelmed by the figures agents of prospective targets were demanding for their clients.  This is quite understandable as Woodward has no experiance in dealing with player recruitment but one has to question; should the club have given this role to someone who has no experience in negotiating transfers at one of the biggest clubs in the world?

We have seen numerous clubs adopt the Director of Football approach with admittedly mixed results, but I believe that this is the direction United should heading. Many have misconceptions about what a Director of Football entails in the game and see them as an interference, this is simply not true.  A Director of Football can work in the modern game if all parties are singing form the same hymn sheet, something Spurs for example failed to do last Summer when they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and wasted most of the £85m on players their manager didn’t want. New United manager Louis van Gaal could liaise with a Director of Football and request what targets he wants to bring to the club and then leave it to the DOF to negotiate with clubs and players agents. This I feel would give United a better chance of landing some of the world class players that this squad so badly needs.

In the modern game roles are now delegated to other people and I feel United need to catch up with everyone else on the continent, long gone are the days when all the responsibility is on the manager’s shoulders. This is how Sir Alex Ferguson operated, he wanted total control at United and everything went through him, but that time and era has now passed and unfortunately while United have stayed competitive on the pitch in recent years, they have been left behind off it. It is understood that Moyes tried to solve this last season by improving United’s scouting network but despite this he couldn’t achieve the results needed for a club this size to keep his job.

Louis van Gaal now has the opportunity pick up where Moyes left off in terms of modernising the club, and while every United fan is fully behind him and are sure that he will be a success at Old Trafford, I am concerned that without someone at the club who has the experience to deal with clubs and players’ agents that we will again fail in the transfer market. LvG may get more out of our current players than Moyes could, but for us to truly get back to where we were then van Gaal will need to rely on Woodward to do his part too, of that I’m sadly not as sure on.