Manchester United desperately need a sporting director to balance the sporting side with the economic side of the club.
That is the opinion of Jose Mourinho’s close friend and former colleague Luis Campos, the sporting director of French club Lille.
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It has been reported that United are looking for a sporting director, but are yet to make an appointment with the club 12th in the Premier League, and with just one top-three finish since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013.
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Campos, who was an assistant to former United manager Mourinho at Real Madrid, believes his difficulties at Old Trafford centred around the lack of support from a sporting director.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Campos said: “I speak to Jose every week, sometimes every day, and I saw that Jose, in my opinion, had difficulties in Manchester because the club has another culture, which I respect of course.
“If the coach is alone heʼs an easy target and he needs help. Everyone needs help in football. You canʼt play alone. Manchester United is an amazing club with an amazing story and for people around the world, it’s difficult to understand what has happened to this club.
“Itʼs difficult to see this club in difficulty, but if this difficulty is arriving itʼs because you have one problem. In my opinion the problem is sensibility. Itʼs important to work together. Sporting with economy. If you donʼt put these things together I believe you are heading for disaster!
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“I know very well the situation of Manchester United and other clubs – but, in my opinion, everybody needs a sporting director because the coach needs time to prepare for the next match and the super ego of the players too, so he needs people with sensibility. If a coach is alone it’s more difficult now.
“A sporting director is very, very important. Of course I believe I could help Manchester United, but I respect the politics of the club. Itʼs very prestigious, very, very prestigious, but in modern football you need a sporting director. If you have a sporting director you have this sensibility.
Campos’ £500m talent Player Cost Sale price Kylian Mbappe £0 £166m Nicolas Pepe £9m £72m Thomas Lemar £0 £63m James Rodriguez £38.4m £63m Anthony Martial £4m £57.6m Benjamin Mendy £11m £49.2m Fabinho £0 £43.7m Bernardo Silva £12.1m £43m Tiemoue Bakayoko £0 £40m
“Before, the coach did everything, but now the information is arriving very fast. Now the world is very different. You need to know players in every part of the world. It’s important the club has one project and with a sporting director everyone understands where they go.
“You need one person with the sensibility for the sporting and economic situation. In modern football you need both to work together. If they don’t work together you have a disaster.”
Campos, 55, has been sporting director at Lille since 2017, helping them return to the Champions League, having helped unearth some of Europe’s best talents while at Monaco from 2013.
His CV is quite something, having found and sold on talent in excess of £500m, including Kylian Mbappe, Nicolas Pepe, James Rodriguez, Anthony Martial, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy.
Asked if he would consider being a sporting director to Mourinho in his next job, Campos’ answer was clear.
“Of course,” the Portuguese said. “Mourinho is like a brother to me. I know him very well and for a long time. He’s a wonderful person and the best coach in the world. So, of course, if he called me I would speak.