Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed he had to overrule former manager Jose Mourinho on transfer dealings.
Mourinho spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Red Devils between 2016 and 2018, leading the club to Carabao Cup and Europa League glory before things turned sour.
The Portuguese manager was sacked in December 2018 and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a poor start to the season combined with a reported fallout between Mourinho and the United board.
Mourinho’s transfer woes at Manchester United: Five things to know…
- Mourinho managed Manchester United between 2016 and 2018.
- In that time, he oversaw 11 signings including Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.
- However, he was unhappy with the backing of the United board at times.
- In 2018, Mourinho had wanted at least five signings including Harry Maguire and Ivan Perisic.
- But Woodward has revealed he had to turn down Mourinho’s requests at times after consulting transfer experts.
Mourinho had been unhappy with the lack of backing he received in the transfer market, only seeing Lee Grant, Fred and Diogo Dalot joining in his final window, when he wanted to bring in five new signings.
At that time, Mourinho had also been keen on signing Harry Maguire after his exploits with England at the World Cup, though United did eventually get the centre-back in 2019.
United were also being linked with a move for Ivan Perisic under Mourinho, with the Portuguese previously revealing his desire to sign the current Bayern Munich star.
And Woodward has confirmed that he did have to overrule Mourinho on “one or two” transfer targets after consulting experts.
“It is true that there was a difference of opinion on one or two players between the manager and the recruitment department,” he told fanzine United We Stand.
“Sometimes, I have to be one who delivers the ‘no’, which isn’t easy, because our natural tendency is to back the manager in every possible circumstance, but we have to listen to the recruitment experts too.”
During Mourinho’s two-and-a-half-year stint with United, the Red Devils did fork out on the signings of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez, Fred and Dalot, while also bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in on a free transfer.
Solksjaer’s first summer transfer window as United boss saw the club bring in Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, but Woodward and the club’s hierarchy were once again criticised for not doing enough business.
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Mourinho and Woodward’s relationship still going
Despite the complaints about a lack of transfer deals and Woodward having to turn down Mourinho’s requests, it appears the two still have a good relationship.
Mourinho was appointed as the new Tottenham Hotspur manager last week, replacing Mauricio Pochettino after their poor start to the 2019/20 campaign.
And the Portuguese revealed Woodward was one of the first people to send him a congratulatory message when the news was announced.
“I received messages from everybody, everywhere (from my former clubs),” Mourinho said.
“Maybe I get the opportunity to apologise for not answering 500 of them that I couldn’t answer. I have 700 but only had time to answer 200.
“But it was curious to see, from my last club, so many people showing me that respect, empathy and feeling. It was nice.
“All of them were special. The first one was from (United managing director) Richard Arnold. The third, fourth or fifth was Ed Woodward. And they were my bosses.”