Man Utd have made ‘their first genuinely elite move in a decade’ | Football

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has already begun transforming the club (Picture: Reuters)

Manchester United’s appointment of Omar Berrada has sent ripples around the rest of the Premier League, with the incoming chief executive putting the rest of the division on notice.

The Red Devils announced on Saturday night that they had pulled off an almighty coup by luring the Manchester City chief to Old Trafford after 13 years at their noisy neighbours.

Berrada joined City in 2011 after previously heading up commercial at Barcelona and moved up through the ranks to become chief football operations officer for City Football Group, overseeing a host of clubs as well as the Premier League champions.

Not only did Berrada’s defection take City by surprise, but it has also caused a stir at other Premier League sides.

The Spaniard is very highly regarded among his peers and, according to The Athletic, one senior figure at a top-flight rival described the appointment as ‘the first genuinely elite move’ United have made in a decade.

Berrada has been a huge part of City’s success on and off the pitch, playing an integral role in the development of their outstanding academy as well as helping negotiate Erling Haaland’s transfer in 2022.

After years of what seemed like chaos in the United hierarchy, suddenly the club have found a CEO who can unify the football and business sides of the club.

New Man Utd chief executive Omar Berrada

Berrada will not begin his new role until the summer (Picture: Getty)

It has even been suggested that Berrada could be the best signing at Old Trafford since a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 – some two decades ago.

Such is Berrada’s standing within the game, there is a feeling that his appointment could be a landmark moment for the club and speaks volumes about the direction the club are heading under Ineos and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, particularly if further appointments – such as a sporting director – are of the same calibre.

Unfortunately for United, and despite Berrada’s exit from City being described as amicable, he has been put on gardening leave for six months and will not officially start his role until the summer.

Explaining the decision to bring Berrada in, a United statement said: ‘The club is determined to put football and performance on the pitch back at the heart of everything we do. Omar’s appointment represents the first step on this journey.

‘As one of the most experienced football executives at the top of European football, Omar brings a wealth of football and commercial expertise, with a proven record of successful leadership and a passion to help lead change across the club.

‘He is currently serving as chief football operations officer for City Football Group overseeing 11 clubs across five continents and, prior to this, held senior roles at Barcelona.

‘It is our stated ambition to re-establish Manchester United as a title-winning club. We are pleased that Omar will be joining us to help achieve that goal, so that, once again, United fans can see, in the words of Sir Matt Busby, the red flag flying high at the summit of English, European and world football.’

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