Who is Paul Mitchell? The man being lined up by Manchester United as director of football
The debate of who will succeed Jose Mourinho as next Manchester United manager has dominated the headlines since the 55-year-old's departure.
But following years of muddled thinking in the transfer market and on the training ground since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, there is a growing sense that United must also appoint a new director of football to oversee operations above the next head coach to give the club a sense of continuity and direction.
Read more: Man Utd plot raid of Spurs and RB Leipzig with hope of reuniting Mauricio Pochettino and Paul Mitchell
i understands Mauricio Pochettino is the leading candidate take the manager's job on a permanent basis next summer and that United's executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has met Paul Mitchell to discuss a director of football role.
Who is Paul Mitchell?
Mitchell is the current head of recruitment and development at RB Leipzig, where he works closely with sporting director Ralf Rangnick.
The Englishman joined the German outfit in February after forging his reputation in the Premier League, building a strong relationship with Pochettino in similar roles at Southampton and Tottenham.
Paul Mitchell was a former midfielder with Wigan Athletic and MK Dons and began his scouting career at the latter as a 27-year-old after being forced to retire through injury. He was soon promoted to head of recruitment by Dons manager Karl Robinson before moving to St Mary's in January 2012.
He is widely credited with unearthing young English talents like Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier as well as foreign stars like Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane.
Mitchell resigned from his role at Spurs in August 2016 after less than two years in the role, with reports suggesting he fell out with club chairman Daniel Levy.
By Sam Cunningham, i football correspondent
Dele Alli, Sadio Mane, Son Heung-min, Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier. They are some of the Premier League's and world football’s most well-known names now, but they weren’t before Paul Mitchell brought them to the attention of the clubs where he has led recruitment departments.
Mitchell, who worked his way up from MK Dons, to Southampton, to Spurs, was convinced to leave north London in February by RB Leipzig’s project, to work on the the transition between the German club's youth team and the first team, the club accepting that they could not compete with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund financially and knowing their route to the top would rely upon bringing through their own talent.
They sit fourth in the table, two points behind Bayern, with an average age of 23 for their squad players. It is another part of a track record of success that has seen him considered for the director of football role at Manchester United, where he could be reunited with Mauricio Pochettino next summer, with whom he worked at Southampton and Spurs, if United can tempt the Argentine away.
United’s supporters’ trust called for a reset of their culture to the Sir Alex Ferguson days when Jose Mourinho was sacked; of making big but value-for-money signings and infuse them with a core of youth products. The skills that Mitchell has developed since retiring early through injured aged 27, could make him, nine years on, the key man to make that happen.
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