- Antero Henrique has emerged as the current favorite for United’s first-ever sporting director
- The former PSG and Porto director of Football has had a lot of success over the last 15 years in Europe
- Is Henrique the best bet for the Red Devils?
Manchester United currently have no Sporting Director, a position that many other clubs around Europe have. Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward instead does a lot of the work that a director would do, dealing with transfers and making sure the club spends their money on the right players to bolster their squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has helped with a lot of these duties as well, insisting that United bring in youth and build around their current up and comers rather than spend big on superstars. Bruno Fernandes is the perfect example, who Man United brought in during the January transfer window for just 47 million euros. The former Sporting Lisbon star has been outstanding, adding tons of creativity on the attack for Solskjaer.
But since the beginning of last season, the Red Devils have shown interest in appointing a Sporting Director, with many different candidates appearing as a possible fit. Former club legend Rio Ferdinand has been mentioned, along with Gary Neville and Edwin Van Der Sar, among Henrique.
Next Man United Director of Football Odds
|Edwin Van Der Sar||+1000|
Odds taken March 26th.
Is Henrique The Man For The Job?
Henrique hasn’t been with a club since June of 2019, after parting ways with PSG after two years as their Sporting Director. During his time in the French capital, the 51-year old won two Ligue 1 titles and a French Cup. He was the key figure in luring Kylian Mbappe away from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017, convincing him that his future would be much brighter with the Parisians.
Before Henrique joined the French giants, he transformed Portuguese side FC Porto into one of the top teams in Primeira Liga. He went all the way from the communications department at the club to the Director of Football in eight years. Henrique captured 11 league titles with Porto, a Europa League title, and a Champions League title, among many other accolades before leaving for Paris in June of 2017.
There’s no doubting that Henrique has proven to be one of the best Sporting Directors in Europe over the years. His decorated resume certainly proves his worth. The number of players he developed at both clubs before selling them for hefty amounts is endless, from former Real Madrid star Pepe to current Wolves standouts Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves. All three honed their talents with Porto.
Following Club Philosophies
United has gone from a Premier League powerhouse to a relatively irrelevant club over the last couple of years. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a decent job of revamping the side and turning their focus to youth though, which has recently been working out rather well.
They offloaded Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan, two players who had very high salaries. Marcus Rashford has played a more vital role up top and was enjoying a breathtaking campaign before injuring his back in January. Nonetheless, he is developing into the striker that United had hoped he would be one day.
Other youngsters like Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams have shown glimpses of brilliance this term and profile to be club mainstays for the foreseeable future. The signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, and Daniel James last summer have all paid off as well. Fernandes has been a breath of fresh air since arriving at Old Trafford in January, making the squad a whole lot better very quickly.
If Woodward and Solskjaer can make sure Henrique is on the same page as them in terms of looking more closely at the academy and young players rather than dipping into the transfer window for big names, then I believe he’d be a perfect fit. Obviously they’ll need to make some moves in the summer, but they don’t need to spend the big bucks as they have in past years because those moves never worked out.
A mastermind like Henrique who has tons of experience in a position like this is definitely the answer for the Red Devils. He’ll be weighing out his options because many clubs around Europe will be chasing his talents, but if United has the chance to lock him up as their Sporting Director, they must do so sooner rather than later.
Pick: Antero Henrique -350