Manchester United chief Ed Woodward’s private comments on John Murtough surface

Man Utd: New Football Director John Murtough in profile

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Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has suggested privately that John Murtough’s new role will allow him to take a big step back on recruitment, reports say. The Red Devils have revamped their hierarchy behind the scenes at Old Trafford. And they’re determined to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the best possible chance of succeeding.

Manchester United have, for years, been on the lookout for a football director.

And it was announced earlier in the month that they’d hired Murtough, who has actually been at the club since David Moyes’ arrival eight years ago.

He’ll be working in tandem with Fletcher, with the duo charged with the task of helping the Red Devils’ recruitment improve.

Things have got better since Solskjaer’s arrival, with the Norwegian landing the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka – with all three players hits.

But the memories of flops such as Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as well as a dire loan deal for Radamel Falcao, still linger in the memory.

And the Telegraph say Woodward has privately said Murtough’s appointment will allow him to take a step back when it comes to transfer activity.

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However, the report says it’s unclear how much power Woodward is actually giving up.

The United chief has been a divisive figure among fans since he replaced David Gill following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

But he retains the backing of Joel Glazer, having worked closely with the Glazer family since they took over the club back in 2005.

Other reports have suggested Murtough and Fletcher are both in agreement on Erling Haaland, thinking the Borussia Dortmund star would be a huge hit.

Yet signing him won’t be easy with Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City also among his admirers.

Fletcher and Murtough are also big admirers of Declan Rice, who has helped West Ham rise to fifth in the Premier League table this term.

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But his arrival won’t be straightforward, either, with the Hammers determined to get a fee in the region of £100million for their star midfielder.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer has insisted he’ll always have the final say on transfers despite Murtough and Fletcher’s new roles.

“I think the managers at Manchester United have always had the last say (on transfers). The club would never buy a player that the manager of Man United didn’t want,” he said.

“We do have a process. We’ve got the scouting and then the analysis, but it is always about the manager’s remit.

“All the players who have come in have been identified by every one of us.”

Solskjaer also confirmed he was consulted about the appointments.

“I was consulted. It wasn’t my decision, but I was very supportive of it,” he said.

“I have worked very well with John. He is very easy to communicate with. He knows what I want because we speak freely.

“With Darren coming in as well that gives us another angle. But John’s knowledge has been really good for me to rely on.”

Former United star Gary Neville, who played alongside Fletcher during his days in Ferguson’s squad, doesn’t think Murtough’s appointment will impact their performances on the pitch.

“I think the appointments of John Murtough and Darren Fletcher are internal appointments, really,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Murtough has been at the club for eight seasons, Darren Fletcher has obviously known the club for a long time.

“It’s quite clear that the direction of the club is to go down a path of people who understand and know the DNA of the club. Nicky Butt is in the club, Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan, Darren Fletcher, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – there’s five or six players who have lived through the Sir Alex Ferguson era who know what it means.

“There has been a departure at times over the last 10 years since Sir Alex left, in terms of going down different routes, it’s clear now that Ed Woodward and the board have chosen to go down this route.

“In terms of the appointment of John Murtough as football director, I don’t see that being a critical appointment in the sense of United winning the league or not winning the league in the next few years.”

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