Manchester United have poached a high-placed figure from a second club ahead of INEOS’ arrival once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion investment is ratified this month, according to reports. Change is taking place throughout the entire club in anticipation of a new era under INEOS’ influence.
United are reportedly hiring Ipswich Town’s head of recruitment, Sam Williams, for an important role within the club’s illustrious academy.
Williams left Old Trafford, where he worked as an analyst and scout, in April 2022 to join former assistant coach Kieran McKenna at the Tractor Boys.
He is now set to return just two years later as United’s lead academy scout in the 17-21 age bracket. Williams will also lead the recruitment of high-potential talent for the club’s development programme.
It’s claimed that director of academy Nick Cox and head of scouting operations Steve Brown led the appointment as part of improvements. Williams will report to Luke Fedorenko, head of academy recruitment.
While Ratcliffe’s investment for a 29 per cent stake is yet to be official, the 71-year-old tycoon and INEOS figures have been regularly present around Carrington to lay the foundations of a quick start.
This week, Cox revealed that Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford had recently addressed academy staff and admitted he was excited about their vision for United’s youth ranks.
“Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, they were very clear. We have spent time with Dave and Jim,” Cox told the Manchester Evening News.
“They both presented to the academy staff this week, and we have had a lot of informal conversations as well. It is very early days.
“They are still learning about the club, albeit Jim is a huge supporter. Jim is very familiar with the club, being a lifelong fan. But you don’t have to spend long here to realise that.
“But they are building relationships, trying to understand where the help and support might be needed to help us to get better.
“Naturally, they have a really good understanding of the history of youth development here and the role it has played in our history and the role it is playing today in terms of helping our team perform.
“So, from our perception, from the academy staff’s perception, exciting times are ahead.
“I think the staff were incredibly enthused and appreciated the fact that they dedicated some time, which is a really busy time for them because there are a lot of new people to meet and new information for them, but they came and spent considerable time with every person in the room.”
United’s proud academy traditions have continued this season, with the establishment of Kobbie Mainoo as a regular first-team player after Alejandro Garnacho last term.
Those traditions – which have seen at least one academy player feature in the squad for over 4,000 consecutive games since October 1937 – are in a good position to continue into the INEOS era.