‘I don’t remember anyone saying, ‘wow, look at what Palace are doing”: Rio Ferdinand questions why Sir Jim Ratcliffe is thought to be targeting Dougie Freedman as Man United’s new sporting director


Rio Ferdinand has questioned why Manchester United would be interested in giving Crystal Palace sporting director Dougie Freedman a key role at Old Trafford.

The Palace director has been linked with a move to a new role at Man United once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the club is completed.

Ratcliffe, 71, is reportedly considering an overhaul of the club’s executive team and Freedman is among the names being considered as a potential sporting director.

United supporters have repeatedly called on the club to appoint someone in that capacity, given the unconvincing spending in the transfer market since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager.

However, Ferdinand is baffled as to why the Selhurst Park director would be a potential target for his former club given United’s ambitions.

Crystal Palace director Dougie Freedman is reportedly being considered for a role as sporting director at Man United

Rio Ferdinand questioned why United would consider appointing Freedman

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is considering a sporting overhaul at United

Rio Ferdinand wondered why Sir Jim Ratcliffe would consider Freedman

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“His name comes out of left field. No disrespect, but I don’t remember anyone saying, ‘Wow, look what Palace are doing,’” Ferdinand said on his Atmosphere with Five Youtube Channel.

“Paul Mitchell, I understand, he has a history of doing good things and the same goes for Michael Edwards and Julian Ward at Liverpool.

‘They have a lot of successful work that is recognised, as did Dan Ashworth at England, then at Brighton and now at Newcastle. You can understand that, but no one says that about Palace.

“(Michael) Olise, (Eberechi) Eze and (Marc) Guehi are three players who have been good signings, but for everyone there are others who have not worked.

‘They don’t have a reputation that makes you understand why United would choose him. Dan Ashworth has held these roles before, but John Murtough has worked in positions that weren’t football-based. He helped behind the scenes, but not with football matters.’

Former Scotland striker Freedman had spells at Palace, Forest, Wolves and Leeds during his playing career.

He subsequently held managerial positions at Crystal Palace, Bolton and Forest before moving into the boardroom where he remained at Selhurst Park.

Freedman could replace United football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, whose positions are believed to be in jeopardy. United have spent more than £1 billion on transfers in the past three years but have been criticized for making poor recruitment decisions.

United football director John Murtough (right) could be replaced if Ratcliffe's investment goes through

United football director John Murtough (right) could be replaced if Ratcliffe’s investment goes through

Ratcliffe is reportedly working on a shortlist of possible candidates to take over at Man United

Ratcliffe is reportedly working on a shortlist of possible candidates to take over at Man United

Reports have also suggested that Ratcliffe has put together a shortlist of possible candidates, including former Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell, while ex-Liverpool sporting directors Michael Edwards and Julian Ward are also in the picture.

Ferdinand continued his scathing analysis of Ratcliffe’s planned investment, describing the British billionaires’ plans to take full control of the sport as a ‘major risk’.

“Jim Ratcliffe pays 25 percent and he gets full control of the football side. He takes care of the ins and outs and all the recruitment.

‘It’s a big risk. You can’t say he’s been hugely successful before. I hope he shakes it up and lays out his template. Rangnick and Mourinho have said it and many different sporting directors have spoken about the style of play,” he added.


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