Manchester United are setting up an eight-man team to identify transfer targets, according to The Athletic.
The Red Devils are currently recruiting for the new department, with top candidates being headhunted under a non-disclosure agreement.
The club is ‘determined not to have a repeat of their seemingly occasional haphazard approach to signings’ after January’s deadline day fiasco that saw the Reds approach a reported eleven different players before finally landing Odion Ighalo on loan.
The team’s goal will be led by a ‘head of football analytics’ and will use data analytics to profile and identify transfer targets rather than relying solely on the more traditional scouting system.
Analytics is a method using computers to analyse data about players to look for meaningful patterns and interpret them to help make decisions. Clubs have used it for many years in regard to analysing their own players’ performances but its use in recruitment is relatively new.
Clubs such as Liverpool and Leicester already have such a team in place and the Red Devils need to get up to speed with their rivals.
In theory, should a sporting director ever be appointed at Old Trafford, the team would work in conjunction with both him and the manager as targets are identified.
However, there is concern that the new team will be toothless, as United’s recruitment continues to be governed by the whim of executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and his close advisers. According to The Athletic, ‘Insiders at United are concerned the new department will not get the influence it needs and instead be placed alongside the club’s scouts, some of whom feel they are not listened to enough’.