Manchester United have confirmed that chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of recruitment Marcel Bout have left the club amid reports of an overhaul at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are going through a period of change right now, with Erik ten Hag expected to replace Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season, and the squad in serious need of a refresh.
On Tuesday night, Man Utd were humiliated in a 4-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool, dealing a massive blow to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season. The Red Devils are now sixth, dropping below fifth-placed Arsenal on goal difference having played two games more, while also sitting three points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth – and the London side have a game in hand.
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So Man Utd are in a period of uncertainty on the pitch right now, but those behind the scenes have continued with their plans for the summer, starting with the streamlining of their scouting staff. Chief scout Lawlor has been at Man Utd since 2005, being promoted to his current role in 2014, in what was Louis van Gaal’s first season but will leave the club in the summer.
Van Gaal’s arrival also brought Bout to the club, first as a coach before he turned to scouting.
“Jim Lawlor has decided to step down from his role as chief scout in the summer after 16 years with the club,” Man Utd said in a statement to the Athletic.
“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.
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“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.”
The news comes less than 24 hours after Rangnick admitted Man Utd need a rebuild of their playing squad, calling for up to 10 new signings this summer – but only after the Red Devils have nailed down their planned playing style.
“There will be a rebuild for sure but that does not help us when we still have five games to play,” he told Sky Sports after Man Utd’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.
“If you analyse the situation it is not difficult to analyse. For me, it is clear there will be six, seven, eight, maybe ten new players. Before you sign those players you need to be aware how you want to play.”
“I don’t think we have checked out, they are just better than us,” Rangnick added of the difference between Man Utd’s squad and Liverpool’s.
“They have 25 Formula One racing cars in their squad.
“I don’t think it makes sense to speculate about our chances of making the top four after a performance like today.”
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