Manchester United continue to assemble the Transfer Avengers with former Man City chief targeted

Matt Stead
Chelsea player Cole Palmer and Manchester City executive Omar Berrada with the Man Utd badge
Omar Berrada and Man Utd want the man who helped save Cole Palmer

Man Utd are continuing unabated in their attempts to assemble the Transfer Avengers with spare parts from other clubs; Southampton are next to resist them.

The arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS team has heralded an ambitious overhaul and restructure behind the scenes at Old Trafford, starting with the appointment of Omar Berrada as chief executive.

Tempting the Chief Football Operations Officer of Manchester City to form part of their new team was a coup for Man Utd, who have also targeted Dan Ashworth for a sporting director role.

READ MOREMan Utd revolution illustrated by high-profile exit as Omar Berrada comes through the door

Ashworth has informed Newcastle of Manchester United’s approach and the Magpies are now awaiting formal contact from their Premier League rivals, who face having to pay a compensation package of at least £10m to release him from his contract in time for the upcoming summer transfer window.

It is also thought that Ashworth would like to bring on board Brighton’s head of recruitment Sam Jewell, with whom he worked on the south coast previously.

In ‘fear’ of that news, Chelsea want to ‘poach’ the Brighton man and will battle Man Utd for him if necessary.

But in yet another case of Man Utd looking around English football for individuals to plant into their new structure, Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox has been targeted.

Man Utd are once more ‘yet to approach’ the club from whom they wish to take a high-value employee, but Wilcox ‘is aware of their interest’ and may have a decision to make soon.

Man Utd stakeholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s deal to buy 25 per cent of Man Utd is done

The Athletic add that Wilcox ‘is well-known and extremely highly regarded’ at Man Utd after his work at St Mary’s and with Manchester City, where he worked for over a decade.

READ MORERanking Man Utd signings since Fergie shows scale of job facing Dan Ashworth…

Wilcox helped bring through a number of young players including Phil Foden, Rico Lewis and Romeo Lavia, with his role in Cole Palmer’s development previously revealed by the same outlet.

‘From a player standpoint, Wilcox makes decisions for their development,’ Jacob Tanswell wrote in March 2023. ‘A case in point was Cole Palmer who, at 16, was on the list to be released before Wilcox stepped in and overturned the decision. Palmer is now a first-team player at City and an England Under-21 regular.’

The forward has since become a full England international and £40m Chelsea signing.

Man Utd hope to tap into that sort of expertise by offering Wilcox a position which ‘would report in to a sporting director’, their primary candidate for that role being Ashworth – even though Dan Ashworth is actually rubbish.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS team are described by David Ornstein as ‘driving the move for Wilcox’ after having their 25 per cent purchase of a stake in Man Utd approved by the Premier League.