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Ed Woodward insists he has no say in recruitment at Manchester United - but admits the club have made mistakes

Ed Woodward

Ed Woodward has opened up on Manchester United’s recruitment policy and insisted that he has no say in which players the club target.

United (opens in new tab) have not won a Premier League title since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 despite spending £840m in the transfer market.

Woodward, the executive vice-chairman at Old Trafford, has been criticised for the way he has run the club in the last six years.

But while the 47-year-old admits United have made mistakes when it comes to recruitment, he has moved to dismiss rumours that he has a prominent role in identifying potential signings.

“The decisions related to recruitment are all taken by football experts. My involvement is signing off the money,” he told United We Stand (opens in new tab).

“The manager has a veto on a player – we would never sign a player the manager wouldn't want because he wouldn't play him. But we also feel the recruitment department, the football experts, should have a veto too.

“I don't get involved in recruitment like people think I do. There's a myth that I look at YouTube and choose players. I don't. Having an eye for players is an art. I have no interest in doing that.

“I just want to have a disciplined process because if you are spending a lot of money on a player you have to make sure you get more right than wrong.

“Where I get involved is that I have to sign off the money, yet when you have target one, two or three from your process I feel fine going after the number one target and, if it's not to be him, then number two or three.”

“The system wasn't set up in the right way [previously]. Twelve scouts reporting to one chief scout was more set up to say no – too many exceptions to the process were made historically while this was being fixed.

“We also have to hold our hands up and say that recruitment wasn't at its best in recent years. We feel that we now know who our best scouts are.

“The idea is to recruit in a closed environment, rather than listening to the press or getting distracted by conflicting agents' claims. We try and make cold decisions based on information.

“Judge the recruitment department in the coming windows where hopefully we can get a team to be at the level we want to be.”

Despite an impressive performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool (opens in new tab), United remain 14th in the Premier League table.


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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).