Jose Mourinho was over-ruled on ‘one or two’ Manchester United transfers, Ed Woodward confirms

In interview with fanzine United We Stand, Woodward confirms Mourinho targets were blocked

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Wednesday 27 November 2019 13:43 GMT
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Ed Woodward has confirmed that Manchester United over-ruled former manager Jose Mourinho on “one or two” potential signings during his final year at the club.

Mourinho was sacked by United last December following a long run of underwhelming performances and a acrimonious culture behind the scenes.

The Portuguese, who returned to management at Tottenham Hotspur last week, left Old Trafford feeling that he did not receive adequate backing in the transfer market.

Mourinho wanted to sign a centre-back in the summer of 2018 but ended the window without reinforcements in the position, despite Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld being of interest.

United operate a veto system on potential signings, which requires the manager and the recruitment department to agree before any deal can be completed.

In an interview with fanzine United We Stand, United executive vice-chairman Woodward has now confirmed he had to inform Mourinho that the club would not sign at least two of his preferred transfer targets.

“It is true that we didn’t sign a centre-back in the summer of 2018 and it is true there was a difference of opinion on one or two players between the manager and the recruitment department,” Woodward said.

“Sometimes I have to be one who delivers the ‘no’, which isn’t easy. Our natural tendency is to back the manager in every possible circumstance. But we have to listen to the recruitment experts too.”

Following Mourinho’s departure and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as permanent manager, United ultimately signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for £80m, a world-record fee for a defender.

United have invested heavily in their recruitment department over the last few years and now believe it is more efficient and productive than before, citing the relative success of new signings Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James as evidence.

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