Fresh claims from a reliable Manchester United reporter suggests that Ed Woodward is to blame for the player unrest that is currently felt at the club.
The Mirror got the ball rolling this week with an exclusive report on the potential crisis at Old Trafford, where 11 players want out after becoming disillusioned with life at United.
It was a damning read but it makes sense when you see how the players have performed this season, and how Luke Shaw stated there was a lack of togetherness on the pitch against Wolves.
However, this morning, The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell made a claim that a lot of issues stem from ‘countless calls’ made by Woodward that should have been delegated to football men.
“Woodward’s strategy for awarding new contracts to players in the (misguided) belief it would protect values has left a bloated squad and several on the fringes unhappy,” Whitwell writes.
“At times Rangnick has taken training for 26 players – there are 29 senior professionals on United’s books, not including the seven out on loan – and he is said to have found motivating them all difficult at times, given in each game almost a third will not be involved.”
Who are the football men at the club you may ask?
Well, John Murtough and Darren Fletcher are said to be in place to be make those decisions, but we never doubted that Woodward would get his hands stuck in the pie too.
Woodward is now being blamed for the bloated nature of the squad due to his handling of contract extensions to protect player value.
United will be against this for however long the Glazers decide to put business first over football. We’ve dragged on for years like this without showing any real signs of finding the right balance between football and the commercial side of it.
You have got to ask why Eric Bailly, Juan Mata and Phil Jones were awarded new contracts in recent times. 1) None of them has played enough football and 2) their value decreases each season they spend out of United’s team.
Moreover, the erratic handing of United’s incoming transfer business is another accusation for Woodward to deal with before he leaves his current role as executive vice-chairman.
Whitwell adds: “In 2020 Jack Grealish was among Solskjaer’s priorities. For roughly the same £80 million cost, United signed Donny van de Beek, Amad and Facundo Pellistri. Those three played 680 Premier League minutes for United last season, while for Aston Villa Grealish had 2,184 minutes, scoring six goals and registering 10 assists to prompt his £100 million move to City.”
One of the biggest complaints we’ve had with Woodward and transfers down the years is the lack of planning put into every signing. Does X player fit the team and what the manager is trying to achieve?
Woodward’s decisions on that front has been called out in the report, too.
“Behind the scenes, there are mixed messages over what constitutes a United player, or where the club directs their scouts.
“The signings of Raphael Varane, Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo were provoked by agents. Woodward took and placed those calls.”
It’s not like Woodward is a popular figure at Old Trafford anyway.