Paul Mitchell has built an incredible reputation in football. The former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur head of recruitment was linked with a move to Manchester United last season, although he remains at AS Monaco in Ligue 1.
In a new interview Mitchell opens up on his relationship with former interim manager Ralf Rangnick and what United need to succeed.
Mitchell, who is a lifelong United fan, never saw his move to the club materialise.
“We had the famous picture didn’t we where we were both sat in the stands together watching the cup game,” Mitchell said. “But between us, our time is always limited.
“We are good friends and we worked very closely together (at RB Leipzig), so we got to chat a little bit at the game. It was a tough one (for Rangnick) because the opportunity came later in his career and I think Ralf is a profile that you need to give time to; to build and research and analyse your infrastructure and your organisation, and build it from the ground up, and the time was short.
“His remit was really short-term, winning and getting Manchester United into a rhythm to try and get them in the Champions League. The Premier League doesn’t often give time and patience, and it comes with a ferocious rhythm and working demands.
“I think after all the experience it was a learning for him. Speaking to him, (it was) a great experience, as I know he’s always had one eye on coming to the Premier League. But I think he will leave probably with a feeling of being unfulfilled.”
It turned out to be a disaster for Rangnick – and he never became a consultant at the end of the season. Instead he left United to become the manager of Austria!
Mitchell states that rediscovering the United identity could be key in brining success back to Old Trafford.
“It has such a role and reach and there have been some tough times there. It is sometimes hard to comment when you’re not in the internal and always understanding the context.
“I use that word a lot because I think context is important to measure what Manchester United’s current situation is, but I think they do need to get to the point of really putting down what Manchester United needs to be in the modern game. We are a long time from the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
“Erik ten Hag is a top coach from Ajax but they need a top blueprint not only for now but for the next five years, and work towards that, and sometimes on that journey there are hard moments when you don’t get the right results, even though you’re doing the right things. You have to know that, over that period, the consistency of the decision-making will yield a good end result.
“I think we’ve seen that both Manchester City and Liverpool, that when you adopt that long-term strategy you can get real consistency and sustainable success. I think that’s the biggest thing for Manchester United; putting down their identity of what they want to be today, but most crucially what they want to be in five years’ time, and where they want to be, and what they want to look like; from everything from young players, to the style of play, to the whole culture peace in Manchester United.”
Some will argue that United are crying out for someone like Mitchell, but we have seen lots of change to personnel at the club in recent months. They all deserve time to prove themselves – including John Murtough as football director.