Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hit back at the critics of the club’s recruitment system.
The PA news agency understands there is a positive mood around the Aon Training Complex ahead of the tough test against Liverpool, thanks in no small part to the improved culture that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen.
The exits of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez may have left United short in attack but were calculated decisions for the betterment of the group, while Paul Pogba is not believed to have been a distraction despite admitting over the summer that he would like to leave.
There are, though, clearly areas that need improving on the field.
Recruitment has been the key factor behind United’s floundering since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but there is now a belief behind the scenes that they are in a better place to target talent after particular issues during the reigns of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.
Background noise continues over a technical director as the club continues to look at streamlining the top of the football department, but Woodward has hit back at those questioning the current structure and his involvement in deals.
“There is a myth that we have non-football people making football decisions, and I think it’s insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club,” Woodward said.
“Many of the senior staff on the football side of the club have been in their roles for over 10 years. Some of our scouts have worked with us for more than 25 years. We’ve expanded our recruitment department in recent years, and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way.
“Player recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and by the first-team manager and his staff, not by senior management.”
It is understood that United, who have worked on improving their bespoke scouting database, will have their summer targets in mind by January, allowing them to act if an early opportunity presents itself.
“The reality of Manchester United is we are a club in two parts,” Woodward added. “First of all, we are an incredible 141-year footballing institution with all that history, all that legacy, all that tradition and that tradition of success. That can never, ever change. We need to keep that protected.
“Then, like other football clubs, our commercial business allows us to reinvest in the football side. It’s how these two interact with each other at Manchester United that results in us having a competitive advantage in this area.
“What’s important is the commercial side is never allowed to take priority over the football side.”