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New sporting director must be on ‘same page’ as Manchester United’s manager says Erik ten Hag

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The Dutch boss is not expected to have any say on who fills the role, with British media reports indicating Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth is the favourite to fill the vacancy.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag wants any new sporting director appointed by the club to be ‘on the same page’ with him. Picture: EPA-EFE, ADAM VAUGHAN

Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag wants any new sporting director appointed by the club to be “on the same page” with him.

The Dutch boss is not expected to have any say on who fills the role, with British media reports indicating Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth is the favourite to fill the vacancy.

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 percent stake in United has been approved by the Football Association, with his deal to take control of all football operations at Old Trafford expected to be completed next week.

United have not won the Premier League since 2013 and the quality of the club’s player recruitment has been criticised repeatedly in recent seasons, with their under-performing squad at the end of last season the most expensively assembled on record, according to a UEFA report.

European football’s governing body said United’s squad at the end of the 2023 financial year cost 1.42 billion euros (£1.21 billion) in transfer fees, surpassing the figure of £1.13 billion posted by Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2020.

The appointment of a sporting director is seen as key to ensuring United improve their transfer dealings, although Ten Hag was adamant Thursday the new recruit and the manager had to have similar ideas.

“I think it is very important you are on one page about football philosophy, about football tactics, about the profiles of the players you need in the team so it is very important to have very good communication so you get the right players,” said Ten Hag.

“It is one of the most important factors to develop a good team, that you have the right players but also the right characters.

“That means you have to do the right work and be aligned and it’s a long process to get the right players in.”

The Dutchman added: “With the number of games you need people around who are on the same page, working on the same targets to achieve the high ambitions… I talk with the new sporting organisation but it is not up to me.

“My focus point at this moment is on this team.”

United are currently sixth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of a Champions League place and 13 behind leaders and bitter rivals Liverpool.

They are away to strugglers Luton on Sunday, with United full-back Luke Shaw doubtful for the trip to Kenilworth Road and the injured Aaron Wan-Bissaka a long-term absentee.

AFP

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