Man Utd chief ‘steps aside’ after £518m transfer outlay in another big Ratcliffe change

Jason Soutar
Man Utd director John Murtough in attendance at Old Trafford
John Murtough in attendance at Old Trafford

Manchester United football director John Murtough has reportedly decided to step down from his role as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s overhaul continues.

Murtough has been at Old Trafford since 2013, working at Everton and Fulham before joining the Red Devils.

Man Utd: John Murtough ‘steps aside’ with Dan Ashworth joining

He joined in a role within the academy and the club’s scouting team and became head of football development after three years before becoming the club’s first-ever football director in 2021.

United have spent £518million on players since Murtough stepped into that role three years ago, with the majority of his signings turning out to be a waste of money.

He has been criticised for the Red Devils’ spending over the years and was always going to leave the club or take on a different role under the ownership of Ratcliffe.

The British billionaire purchased a 25 per cent stake in the club and is overseeing football operations at Old Trafford.

He has already completed some big acquisitions in the staff department, landing Manchester City CEO Omar Berrada, and Southampton technical director Jason Wilcox, while working towards a deal to appoint Dan Ashworth in Murtough’s role.

Ashworth is currently on gardening leave after telling Newcastle United he wanted to move to Old Trafford.

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As part of the mass overhaul, Murtough has decided to ‘step aside’ completely, according to The Athletic.

The report from David Ornstein and Laurie Whitwell claims he will leave the club ‘this week’ after Ratcliffe’s plans made it clear he ‘would depart or be offered a different position’.

Ashworth will replace Murtough when his gardening leave finishes, while Berrada will join in the summer, and there is ‘hope’ Wilcox can join from Southampton ‘in the coming weeks’.

The report does touch on Erik ten Hag’s future at Old Trafford. It is said the United manager ‘wants to stay and work under the new regime’ and ‘plans for next season’ are already underway with INEOS.

However, his side’s form this season has been worryingly inconsistent and the lack of a philosophy on the pitch means his position is ‘under scrutiny’.

Ten Hag is currently the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave their role and there is a possibility that the ‘another managerial search’ could be ‘top of the to-do list’ for Berrada, Wilcox and Ashworth this summer.

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