Man Utd have taken the first step towards a root and branch change behind the scenes after relieving two influential figures of their duties, per a report.
Not for the first time in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, Manchester United are at a crossroads. Their on-field fortunes have once again underwhelmed with their latest hammering at the hands of Liverpool drawing stinging criticism from all corners.
The Red Devils remain in the hunt for fourth spot and the riches that qualifying for the Champions League provides.
However, given the manner of some of their recent displays, those chances are relying more on hope than expectation.
United are poised to appoint Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their next permanent manager. The Dutchman is viewed as a forward-thinking and progressive appointment.
But to truly turn the club’s fortunes around, many have called for sweeping changes behind the scenes.
The club’s recruitment policy has once again come under fire of late. Their two most expensive signings – Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire – have both underdelivered since arriving. What’s more, £89.3m signing Pogba now looks destined to leave for free this summer.
In the aftermath of their Anfield capitulation, Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness lambasted the club’s recruitment since Ferguson left. The Scot claimed that of all the traditional top six teams, United’s has been by far the worst.
Man Utd gut the recruitment team
But according to the Athletic, Man Utd have finally now addressed the elephant in the room.
They state that United’s two top scouts – Jim Lawlor and Marcel Bout – have both left the club with immediate effect.
Lawlor was United’s most senior scout and had been with the club since 2005. He was promoted to chief scout in 2014.
Bout, meanwhile, arrived during the Louis van Gaal years. His initial role was as a coach, though he later moved into the scouting department.
United released a statement to the Athletic that thanked the pair who have both now departed.
The statement read: “Jim Lawlor has decided to step down from his role as Chief Scout in the Summer after 16 years with the club.
“During that time, Jim played a key role in the development of multiple trophy-winning Manchester United teams and was an important source of guidance to Sir Alex Ferguson and each of the managers who have followed him.
“Jim leaves the club with our warmest thanks for his significant contribution and our very best wishes for the future.
“Marcel Bout has departed from his role as Head of Global Scouting after eight years with the club. A respected figure within and outside of Manchester United, Marcel has played an important part as an assistant coach and in the strengthening of our scouting capabilities in recent years.
“Marcel leaves the club with our warmest thanks for his significant contribution and our very best wishes for the future.”