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Man Utd approach angered Saints over director of football Wilcox

Manchester United have approached Southampton about hiring their director of football Jason Wilcox.

United want to make him their technical director as part of the new recruitment team – and an offer equivalent to a year of his salary has been made.

United believe this meets a buyout clause in his contract – but Southampton are disputing the existence of the clause and are understood to be annoyed at the manner and timing of United’s approach.

Who is Jason Wilcox?

  • In his playing career, Wilcox was a winger and won the Premier League title at Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
  • He also played for Leeds and Blackpool and won three England caps before retiring in 2006.
  • Wilcox then worked his way up to the role of academy director during 11 years at Manchester City.
  • The 53-year-old joined Southampton as director of football last summer after the club’s relegation to the Championship.

Saints are angered that Wilcox has been unsettled with eight games left as they chase promotion from the Championship, and value him at substantially more in compensation, despite only being at the club for nine months.

United, on the other hand, believe they have been respectful and followed correct processes throughout their pursuit so far, and that it is unrealistic for Southampton to expect a higher sum.

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Southampton are prepared to agree a fee with United but one that reflects that they would be losing him at a crucial stage – but there appears to be an impasse with United currently believing they have met the contractual requirements for his release.

New United chief executive Omar Berrada knows Wilcox well from their time together at Manchester City, where Wilcox worked his way up from coach to academy director during 11 years at the club.

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Berrada wants the former winger, who won the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995, to form a crucial part of the new recruitment setup at Old Trafford; to be guided, eventually, by sporting director-elect Dan Ashworth.

The 53-year-old is also the subject of talks over a compensation agreement with Newcastle, who have put him on a substantial period of gardening leave that may yet delay his official start until after the summer transfer window.

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United are also thought to be looking to add someone in a role that is likely to oversee player pathways throughout the INEOS group, which includes clubs Nice in France and Lausanne in Switzerland.

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