Manchester United icon Roy Keane has called on Sir Jim Ratcliffe to spread the responsibility around in the transfer market, as opposed to head coach Erik ten Hag leading the Red Devils’ recruitment. United’s incomings have been questioned in recent years, with the INEOS chief hoping to make big changes.
ESPN have claimed that Ten Hag is eager to retain control in the decision-making process regarding recruitment, despite several big-money signings such as Antony and Mason Mount failing to make the desired impact since moving to Old Trafford.
Sir David Brailsford, director of sport at INEOS, is expected to revamp United’s recruitment department and one of his first tasks will be to appoint a sporting director. That may be at odds with Ten Hag’s plans, but Keane feels that the decisions on incomings and outgoings should be shared.
“There is this idea that managers should call the shots, but it is difficult,” Keane told the Stick to Football podcast. “I’ve been a manager and bought players – I bought some decent ones, but I look back and think, ‘what was I thinking with some?’.
“Of course, you have your staff and the chief of operations, but ultimately it would come down to the manager. But I’ve had it as well, when I’ve been at a club where the owner has pushed for a player, I’ve been reluctant, but the player has come in and not been very good.”
Gary Neville echoed his sentiments: “Why should the manager be responsible for spending £80million and £20m in salary for four years on a player, when they could potentially only be there for a year or two – why should they be the one who signs the player?”
United are already making moves in the January window despite Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent stake purchase yet to be ratified by the Premier League. They are reportedly edging closer to their first signing of the month in young Scottish goalkeeper Callan McKenna.
The Queens Park stopper has already made seven first-team appearances this season and is the captain of his country’s Under-19s team. Arsenal and Chelsea were said to be interested, but United appear to have beaten them to a deal that could reach £1million for the 17-year-old.
United are unlikely to stop there and hope to bolster Ten Hag’s defence and midfield in addition to another option up front to compete with Rasmus Hojlund. The Dutch boss is currently calling the shots but if Ratcliffe gets his way and listens to Keane, there may be changes afoot and not all of them will please Ten Hag.