Man Utd appoint Wilcox as technical director

Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of former Southampton chief Jason Wilcox as the club’s new technical director with immediate effect.

Wilcox will work with all technical areas of the football department to “achieve the highest standards of performance”, the Old Trafford club said in a statement.

Southampton also released a statement to confirm they have “reluctantly” allowed Wilcox to join United after reaching an agreement on an “acceptable compensation fee”.

Who is Jason Wilcox?

  • In his playing career, Wilcox was a winger and won the Premier League title at Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
  • He also played for Leeds and Blackpool and won three England caps before retiring in 2006.
  • Wilcox then worked his way up to the role of academy director during 11 years at Manchester City.
  • The 53-year-old joined Southampton as director of football last summer after the club’s relegation to the Championship.

Sky Sports News broke the news earlier his month that United had approached Saints and there was a dispute over the terms of his release, which United believed they had met by offering the equivalent of a year of his salary.

Southampton disputed the existence of the relevant clause and were angered that Wilcox had been unsettled as they chase promotion.

United believed they had been respectful and followed correct processes throughout their pursuit.

New United chief executive Omar Berrada knows Wilcox well from their time together at Manchester City, where Wilcox worked his way up from coach to academy director.

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Melissa Reddy breaks down exactly why Manchester United are targeting Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth as their new potential sporting director

Berrada wants the former winger, who won the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995, to form a crucial part of the new recruitment set-up at Old Trafford; and to be guided, eventually, by sporting director-elect Dan Ashworth.

Ashworth is also the subject of talks over a compensation agreement with Newcastle, who have put him on a substantial period of gardening leave that may yet delay his official start until after the summer transfer window.

United are also thought to be looking to add someone in a role that is likely to oversee player pathways throughout the INEOS group, which includes clubs Nice in France and Lausanne in Switzerland.

John Murtough stepped down as football director at Old Trafford last week but it is understood Darren Fletcher will continue to play a key role in the football leadership team working across the men’s first team and academy.

Southampton, Jason Wilcox
Southampton’s statement on Wilcox’s departure

Why Man Utd wanted Wilcox

Sky Sports News’ Lyall Thomas:

“Wilcox made his name in football administration at Manchester City, where he was a coach and then academy director.

“He joined City in 2012 after spending a few years out of the game post-retirement. After taking over the U18s a year later, he led the side to a league title win and two FA Youth Cups.

“Wilcox then assumed the role of academy director in 2017 and oversaw the structuring of staff, development of players and instilling of a professional ethos.

“In the three years running up to his departure to Southampton last year, both City’s U21s and U18s won three consecutive league titles under his leadership featuring Oscar Bobb, Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer, who all subsequently broke into the City first team.

“The City academy also sold a raft of players for profit across Europe during his time, including Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia to Southampton.

“Among his staff at City was Joe Shields, who also went to Southampton and is now part of Chelsea’s recruitment set-up. Chelsea have since signed Lavia.

To their credit, Southampton’s owners Sport Republic took a risk in bringing Wilcox from an academy to oversee their entire club as sporting director – but he has been able to install some of the same structures and ethos into the Saints in just nine months there.

“He oversaw the appointment of Russell Martin as manager and last summer’s player recruitment, which included Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Shea Charles on loan from Man City.”

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