Rio Ferdinand Open to Manchester United Technical Director Role

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Rio Ferdinand looks on before the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on January 31, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said he would be open to returning to the club as technical director. 

Per Sky Sports' Zinny Boswell, United want a technical director in place before next season, and Ferdinand is among the candidates the club have discussed the role with.

Though details have been scarce, Ferdinand is interested:

"It all depends on the shape of the job. I don't think it's all been outlined at Man United in terms of 'that's the job and this is the description.' I think there's a lot to talk about within that.

"To be fair to Man United, in that kind of role, the responsibility that comes with that, you can't lie and say that that's not a turn-on.

"Because you are helping to shape the fortunes of a club of that stature. That's a huge job.

"All the boxes would have to be ticked that you've got in in your head before considering something like that."

The 40-year-old also discussed the need for someone from a footballing background to be involved in the decision-making at the club and for United to "lock down a philosophy."

Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson sit on the board of directors at Old Trafford, but key decisions lie with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, including on recruitment.

According to the Daily Mail's Laurie Whitwell and Sami Mokbel, in the absence of a technical director, Woodward will remain in charge of the club's transfer policy.

Woodward did not deliver any of the centre-back targets former manager Jose Mourinho wanted last summer, and the side shipped 54 goals in the Premier League, a record bettered by 10 teams.

United finished 32 points behind title-winners Manchester City, and the Red Devils are well behind their local rivals on and off the pitch, as The Times' Paul Hirst observed:

Paul Hirst @hirstclass

Manchester City are light years ahead of Manchester United in pretty much every department, whether it be planning, recruitment, structure, style of play, technical ability or tactics. Utd have a lot of ground to make up.

Their recruitment in recent years has been particularly lacking, with a great deal of expenditure yielding little return.

Alexis Sanchez, United's top earner on a basic wage of around £400,000 per week, has scored five goals since he joined in January 2018. Last summer, the club spent £52 million on Fred, and he made just 25 appearances in all competitions despite an injury-free campaign.

Dan O'Toole of the Manchester Evening News has doubts that United will give a technical director significant influence over recruitment, though:

Dan O'Toole @dan_otoole_

Think it would be naive, though, to imagine United’s board relinquishing any great deal of power re transfers to a director of football/technical director. Until they do that the same problems will continue to arise #mufc

If that is the case, the addition of the role might not have much of an impact as United seek to reestablish themselves among England and Europe's elite.

As for Ferdinand, he spent 12 seasons at Old Trafford, winning six Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League among other honours, so he has more experience than most of succeeding at the club.

However, he does not have any experience of working as a technical director.

United need to give the role significance for it to be worthwhile, and they need to appoint a candidate who has proved they can perform it well.