Manchester United’s pursuit of a football director finally came to a halt last week. The English giants have appointed John Murtough as football director. He will be accompanied by former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who has been handed the role of technical director.
Murtough, formerly of Fulham and Everton and a Manchester United employee since November 2013, will be overseeing operations across Manchester United’s men’s, women’s, and academy outfits, including the transfer strategy.
Meanwhile Fletcher, who rejoined Manchester United as first-team coach earlier this year, will offer technical input and direction into all football and performance areas.
With a top-four finish looking likely, Solskjaer has once again exceeded expectations. But he has probably hit the ceiling with the squad at his disposal.
Now it's the board's turn to deliver and the appointment of a football director seems a step in the right direction.
If the 13-time Premier League champions plan on challenging for the league title in the near future, here are the things Murtough needs to address right away:
7 key areas that the Manchester United football director should address
#1 Finding a perfect partner for the Manchester United captain
Goals win games, but defenses win you titles. To mount a serious title charge, Manchester United need a top centre-back pairing. The Harry Maguire-Victor Lindelof pair don't seem to be the answer.
They hardly complement each other and have similar traits. Maguire's partnership with Eric Bailly, on the other hand, works quite well. But the Ivory Coast centre-back has struggled with frequent injuries.
Lindelof and Bailly are sufficient squad players at best. If United have serious ambitions, they should bring in a quick left-footed central defender to partner Maguire.
#2 Paul Pogba’s future
United were left in an uncomfortable position when Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, once again claimed that his client was unhappy in Manchester.
To Pogba’s credit, his form has picked up since Raiola's claims and he even bagged the club's player of the month for January.
Pogba has a year remaining on his contract and United have a decision to make. New contract negotiations are yet to begin and with several clubs interested, a summer transfer is still on the cards.
Pogba, on his day, is one of the most complete midfielders in the world. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees the Frenchman as an integral part of the Manchester United squad, they need to make a quick decision.
#3 Should Manchester United go back for Sancho?
Manchester United were left embarrassed after their failed pursuit of Jadon Sancho in the last summer transfer window. Despite agreeing personal terms with the player and with no competition from other clubs, Ed Woodward and co. failed to agree on a transfer fee with Dortmund.
Rumors are rife that United will once again go back into the market for Sancho. For the good of everyone involved, the Sancho transfer saga needs a conclusion this summer.
Last summer, the right wing was seen as United's priority position but as the season approaches its business end, central defense has turned into a major concern.
United have the promising duo of Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri in their ranks. Mason Greenwood has continued his development, playing majorly on the right flank.
Sancho is a generational talent and will instantly improve any squad. But he will come at a hefty price and acquiring his services will eat up the majority of United's transfer budget.
Stick with the youngsters or secure Sancho? This is a dilemma that Murtough needs to deal with.