Man Utd narrow sporting director search as new top candidates emerge

Manchester United have narrowed their search for a new sporting director, with the list honed so that any head of recruitment is set to feed into a technical role overseeing all football operations.

It is understood that more consideration is now being given to a foreign influence, with the previously touted Paul Mitchell and former Liverpool official Julian Ward having fallen behind other candidates.

Among those now being given greater consideration are Bayern Munich's Christoph Freund and outgoing Roma official Tiago Pinto.

Newcastle United's Dan Ashworth and the highly-rated Michael Edwards are among the top candidates but are currently seen as unlikely.

It would take a much higher offer with different parameters to coax Ashworth, while Edwards has been interested in pursuing other career possibilities outside club roles aftera highly successful spell with Liverpool.

Crystal Palace’s Dougie Freedman has also been considered.

Once installed, prospective chief executive Omar Berrada will also have primary influence on all football appointments. The confirmed decision on that main role has now seen Ineos press forward with the identification of a sporting director as a priority.

The minority stakeholders are seeking to modernise the structure of the club after years of drift, with former cycling guru Sir Dave Brailsford having considerable input.

Ineos had been giving consideration to splitting responsibilities into two positions underneath the chief executive but it is currently felt that a head of recruitment should feed into the sporting director.