Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s first piece of Man Utd transfer business providing he successfully takes over the club appears to have hit a snag. The Ineos owner was reportedly hopeful that he could bring in Paul Mitchell as the Red Devils’ new sporting director following his departure from AS Monaco.
The 42-year-old left his position with the Ligue 1 club earlier this month after steering them through a successful transitional phase. Manchester United are still without a sporting director and stand to add an experienced transfer operator either ahead of January or next summer.
Ratcliffe is said to favour Mitchell, however, it appears Man Utd are keen to bring in Atletico Madrid sporting director Andrea Berta. According to the Independent, Berta is favoured to take up the vacant role but the Red Devils will have to bat off interest from PSG and Tottenham Hotspur, who are also keen to acquire his services.
Berta has been with Atletico for a decade, serving as technical director for his first four years before being promoted to sporting director in 2017.
The Italian has been at the forefront of reorganising Atletico’s previously haphazard recruitment and United are hoping he can bring the same order to their strategy. Matt Hargreaves has been handling United’s transfer business this summer following a spell with Adidas.
Due to tight financial fair play restrictions, Hargreaves has been forced to work within a limited budget but was able to deliver most of Ten Hag’s main targets including Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund and Andre Onana.
However, United are looking to add a sporting director into the mix to allow them to compete with their rivals in the transfer market and strike up solid deals within their budget. Any appointment at United would not affect John Murtough’s role as director of football.
Yet there have been considerations about the inner workings of the club after a poor start to the season. Man Utd find themselves in 10th place in the Premier League and bottom of their Champions League group.
There are serious concerns surrounding the Red Devils’ defensive fragility having conceded 9 goals in their last five games. Ten Hag is reportedly hoping to bring in a new centre-back in January in order to shore up his backline and the club will be hoping Berta can be apart of the negotiation process.