Manchester United made headlines last month when the Premier League giants were the latest to adopt the director of football model which has risen to popularity over the past decade. The Red Devils have done shoddy business in the transfer market in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure and the appointment of John Murtough to the role is the first signs at the club addressing the issue. Here's a look at who is John Murtough, his role at Manchester United and his background.
John Murtough started out as a sports scientist at Everton under former Manchester United manager David Moyes. He served as the Premier League’s head of elite performance in 2012 before reuniting with Moyes at Old Trafford in 2013. While the current West Ham boss' tenure was short-lived, Murtough stayed at the club, donning a variety of roles in the club hierarchy. Before being appointed as the Man United director of football, he served as the head of football development and has been credited with the work done on recruitment structures and the women's team. Reports suggest that Murtough has been known as the "fixer" and enjoys a close working relationship with Ed Woodward.
Solskjær: "I know John [Murtough] since I came and it is now more a formal role. He has been working well behind the scenes - he is a cultural fit. Very happy with what we have. Continuity and fresh ideas." #mulive— utdreport (@utdreport) March 10, 2021
According to reports, John Murtough's role will focus on player recruitment and ensuring the first-team has the operational support required. Murtough is on the same level on the Man United hierarchy as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who will report to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Murtough has been termed as an influence in the Red Devils signing Hannibal Mejbri and Isak Hansen-Aaroen for the academy and many signings in the women's team. Murtough and Solskjaer will collaborate on player recruitment, while the former head of corporate affairs Matt Judge will report to the Murtough under a new title of director of football negotiations. The recruitment department headed up by Murtough will decide on targets with Solskjaer having the final say. He will also be the point of contact for clubs that want to buy or sell players.
"I'm delighted with the announcement of Darren Fletcher and John Murtough," says Ole.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 10, 2021
"He went from a young man to a Champions League winner here, and he has a bright eye for football so he can have an impact."#MUFC pic.twitter.com/iiB4GsxxRr
Murtough's team will have the likes of former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who will add technical input when it comes to football and performance. The 37-year-old will also work on the link between United’s academy and its first team while focusing on a long-term approach to player and squad development. While Murtough has been well regarded for his work in the academy, his failure to sign Jude Bellingham hasn't gone unnoticed, and the newly appointed director of football is to compete and beat the best sporting directors in Europe to signings who can re-establish Man United as champions, rather than merely a Champions League qualifiers.