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mino raiola

Raiola explains why Manchester United need to appoint a sporting director

Mino Raiola reckons Manchester United need to appoint a ‘specialist’ sporting director, suggesting the club is lacking a clear identity.

Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2013, Manchester United have flipped from one idea to another, with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all having vastly differing idea’s on the clubs direction, all overseen by executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.

There have been talks for well over 12 months that Woodward wants to appoint a director of football, though such an appointment looks no closer now than it did when it was first discussed, and controversial agent Raiola has criticised the clubs structure and mentality.

“The club needs a specialist, a sports director, someone between the team, the coach and the owners, someone who can bridge the sides,” Raiola told The Telegraph. “Today you need that specialist because the coach has no time to manage scouts and other tasks and I feel that is lacking at Manchester United.

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“In truth I look at Manchester United and think that they have more an American mentality than a European one. By that I mean that sometimes it seems the club is more concerned about the economic part than the sports part and that is a very American way of thinking. They need someone to connect the economic side and the sports side.”

The Italian said that unlike the likes of Liverpool and Man City – who are the absolute embodiment of their managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola respectively – United lack an identity and don’t know how they want to play their football, highlighting United’s inability to get the best out of his client, Paul Pogba.

“Is there a better midfielder (than Pogba) in the world? No!” he added. “If you come to that conclusion then the other conclusion is – now if you sell Paul Pogba would you buy a better one? No! Where is he? But if you create your identity then maybe you discover that Paul is ideal. If you, say, want to play with two holding midfielders then where does Paul play? In several positions.

“So I say, make your identity of what you want your club to be and then find the ‘Lego’ parts for it. Then it’s easy to say, ‘if we play 4-3-3 and one holding midfielder then who is the best to play here and there?’ You need that clarity. A big club chooses the system and then chooses the players. They don’t say, ‘we choose the system because of the players’. And then you say, ‘we create the players’.

“(Jurgen) Klopp and Guardiola have a clear thing, of definition, of identity. You know if a player fits them or not. Or you even say different, ‘this is a player for Klopp or for Guardiola’. And tell me the player who you would like for Manchester United? You don’t know because you don’t know the definition of Manchester United. The identity you don’t know.”

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