Following 16 years at the club, Arnold stepped down as chief executive on Wednesday amid Sir Jim Ratcliffe&aposs imminent investment. Frenchman Jean-Claude Blanc has been installed as the favourite to replace him, though Patrick Stewart is holding the fort for now.
In addition to the increasing speculation linking Blanc, who is a leading figure at INEOS Sport, with a post at Old Trafford, recruitment expert Paul Mitchell has been linked with the prospect of becoming sporting director. These reports make it clear that Ratcliffe wants to oversee a major shake-up and bring in leading football minds.
Appointing a leading sporting director, whether it be Mitchell or someone else, will be a massive step forward for the club. A decade&aposs worth of mistakes were overseen by men who had backgrounds in finance, not football.
Bringing in a recruitment specialist would surely improve United&aposs hit record on the recruitment front. For the amount of money that has been spent over the past decade, success stories have been few and far between, with countless big-money signings failing to live up to expectations.
Though he is only just over a year into his United career, Antony – the club&aposs second-most expensive addition of all-time – is already a prime example of big-money signings flopping at Old Trafford. Without a goal since April and an assist since May, the winger, who could end up costing United up to 85.5million, is threatening to become the club&aposs most underwhelming signing of all-time.
Despite United signing Jadon Sancho just a year earlier, manager Erik ten Hag, following his unveiling in May 2022, made it his mission to strengthen United&aposs right-wing options before the end of his first summer transfer window in charge. Antony was his primary target from the outset, with the Dutchman determined to be reunited with him in M16 after overseeing a period of his development at Ajax.
As a result of Ten Hag&aposs desperation to be reunited with him, he won&apost turn his back on the 23-year-old yet. Instead, he will likely persevere with him more than any other player in United&aposs ranks, primarily because he was so desperate for the club to secure his signature.
But with Antony now more than a year into his United career and time running out for him to come up with excuses for his dire run of form, how long can Ten Hag continue to persevere with him? He is a winger that doesn&apost score or create goals. Something has got to give.
Whether United address this problem by drafting in yet another right-winger or decide to put their faith in either Facundo Pellistri or Amad, there is a strong likelihood that a change at the top of the right-wing pecking order next summer could result in a new-look right-sided partnership for the 2024/25 campaign.
Solving the conundrum at right-back has got to be a leading priority for United next summer. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot have frequently shared the role in 2023, meaning it is somewhat difficult to distinguish who Ten Hag considers as his right-back-in-chief.
Wan-Bissaka, though he deserves credit for the way he has resurrected his United career over the past 11 months, has often been linked with an exit from Old Trafford in recent months. Generally, it is not felt that he still has a long-term future at the club.
As for Dalot, United have seen the very best and the very worst of him since Ten Hag took charge. He was outstanding at the start of last season, producing a series of eye-catching performances, so much so that he was one of the very first names on the teamsheet.
Since the World Cup, however, he has regressed, meaning Ten Hag will almost certainly want to bolster the right-back berth in 2024, allowing either Wan-Bissaka or Dalot to depart. Dutch duo Denzel Dumfries and Jeremie Frimpong, whose representatives held talks with United earlier this year, have frequently been namechecked as options who could increase the level of quality on the right of the defence.