Manchester United could have avoided their current centre-back crisis had club bosses listened to an axed scout who recommended a host of future defensive stars.
Jose Mourinho made no secret of his desire to sign a new centre-back over the summer, while he has been forced to field the likes of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in the heart of his defence in recent weeks.
But now former United head of youth recruitment, Derek Langley, claims the club ignored his advice over signing the likes of Ajax duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong – who could move next summer for in excess of £100m.
Players that they turned down? Matthijs de Ligt. We had God knows how many reports on Matthijs de Ligt, Langley told the Manchester Evening News.
Frenkie de Jong and all these players now are sort of around Europe. Dayot Upamecano, who is now at Red Bull Leipzig, was another.
This was one of the reasons why I had a meeting with Ed Woodward and I told him that I wasnt convinced with the competency of certain people at the club.
I told Ed Woodward quite straight: “If you think Im going to sit here and just tell you what you want to hear, Im not that man because Im going to tell you exactly how I see it”.
I think it was possibly part of my downfall as to why seven months down the line I was removed because I wouldnt tow the line in relation to telling them exactly what I thought.
Its one of them things in football – you come to accept it. Manchester United thanked me for the time I spent there and the players Id taken in, but ultimately we could have been so much better if people had listened.
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