‘No way’ – Jason Wilcox Man United transfer approach spells bad news for Ten Hag

For the past few weeks, it has become common to see Erik ten Hag and Jason Wilcox seated for breakfast in the Carrington canteen. Ten Hag stated on Thursday that coffee and croissants are helping them establish a “intense” relationship quickly.

Technical director Wilcox is currently leading the team as Dan Ashworth is still on gardening leave before being appointed as Manchester United’s sports director. Old Trafford officials are preparing for the window with Wilcox as the most senior football administrator, even though they haven’t ruled out a breakthrough with the Magpies that would allow them to parachute Ashworth in time to play a role this summer.

At some point, his remit will probably be more focused, and Ashworth will handle recruitment duties, but for the duration of this crucial first summer for Ineos, Wilcox will be in command. Thus, his time in the United Goldfish Bowl has been intensely focused on meetings and attempting to get to know individuals. In addition to becoming friendly with Ten Hag, he frequently visits the canteen and maintains a good friendship with Sir Dave Brailsford.

Wilcox is the “connector” between Ineos and the present management team, according to a United source. With the backing of John Murtough’s team, which included deputy football director Andy O’Boyle, director of football negotiations Matt Hargreaves, and head of recruitment Steve Brown, he is currently viewed as essentially a direct replacement for Murtough when it comes to the transfer window.

Currently, Wilcox spends a lot of his time organizing for the summer window, and throughout the past few weeks, he has met with agents to discuss potential opportunities. The 53-year-old, who won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers while he was a player, has recently established a glittering career as a football executive. According to one account, he was just a “good football man.”

Wilcox and United’s former football director Murtough, according to a second person who has dealt with both, were “totally different characters.” Within the business, there was a perception that Murtough had been overly accommodating to Ten Hag’s demands about incomings.

It was stated that there was “no way” Wilcox would have approved the contracts for Casemiro (£70 million) and Antony (£85 million) at those prices. “He is a tough negotiator, he is prepared to walk away from a deal if it is not right for his club and that is what United need,” according to a source.

Regarding a transaction for a City young player, one official at a club that worked with him called him a “ruthless operator who isn’t afraid of upsetting people but does it with the best intentions.” Formerly known as the “dumb money” in the transfer market, Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants a more astute hiring process as he revamps the team’s football department.

Everyone at Carrington knows that Wilcox’s appointment by Ineos has given him more authority, but as soon as Ratcliffe’s deal closed, there was talk about Murtough’s future. During his productive loan time at Bolton Wanderers, Ashworth has largely used his gardening leave to babysit his son Zac. When Wilcox ultimately returns to the team, his role will become more polished as he works with what is anticipated to be a head coach post on the technical side of the football organization.

Through discussing Ten Hag’s training methods and observing the first team train at Carrington, including one session with Ratcliffe and Brailsford, he has also begun to have a grasp of that job. His opinions on the present team, management, and coaching will be passed along to the important Ineos decision-makers.

Wilcox will undoubtedly be conscious of the magnitude of the task that lies ahead. He would have wondered what all the hoopla was about during his first seventy minutes as an official United ambassador, watching on from the comfort of the sumptuous seats at Wembley. Then he received his response after 20 minutes of insanity, a social media meltdown, and an enraged manager.

He has now attended all three of the Old Trafford matches since his appointment, sitting close to Brailsford and O’Boyle for the Burnley and Sheffield United games. O’Boyle has impressed Brailsford since their investment in the club went through, although his title will probably be clarified after Ashworth lays out his plan.

Omar Berrada, the new chief executive of United, supported Wilcox’s appointment. The two had previously collaborated extensively at Manchester City. He subsequently rose to the position of academy director at City, where he oversaw the age-group teams’ replication of the first team in order to prepare young players for promotion. At United he is attempting to develop a similar ‘game model’.

He left the Etihad to accept a position as director of football at Southampton, giving up the greater authority of working for the Saints in exchange for the prestige of working for City. Wilcox oversaw hiring decisions and recognized Russell Martin as the best option to lead St Mary’s last summer, although his influence was also somewhat diminished by the team’s Premier League relegation.

During the summer, Southampton sold five players for sums above £12.5 million, and some of those sales were motivated more by financial needs than by Wilcox’s desire to restructure the team. Still, he was seen as a formidable character on the south coast and eager to convey that perception to peers at other teams.

During the summer, Southampton sold five players for sums above £12.5 million, and some of those sales were motivated more by financial needs than by Wilcox’s desire to restructure the team. Still, he was seen as a formidable character on the south coast and eager to convey that perception to peers at other teams.

Regarding his conversations with Wilcox, Ten Hag stated in a statement on Thursday, “We talk every day from now, from last week.” We have a very small time to develop a deep friendship. We had a plan before he took over, therefore we are currently operating under it. Naturally, we must realign. We don’t have much time, yet it takes time.

“There’s always a lot of work. And it is normal when you go into a transfer window, but the injuries had a big impact. We know also we are still below the levels from the expectations that Manchester United has, so we have to catch up and I’m now going into my fifth window. Two windows were quite okay, two we missed. We have to make new improvements this summer. But there is a base in this squad that is very good.”

Although former technical director Darren Fletcher now has a more official position connecting the first team with the academy, Wilcox’s job will also focus on the academy system. Wilcox excelled in that area at City, which is one of the reasons Berrada holds him in such high regard.

Perhaps his greatest achievement at City, looking back, was persuading the team to hold off on releasing Cole Palmer at the age of 16. Wilcox argued that Palmer should be given a professional contract, and history has proven it was the right decision.

He will need to demonstrate all of those abilities and more in his greatest challenge to yet this summer, when he is expected to be at the forefront of United’s recruitment efforts.


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