Man Utd prepare 'official approach' for Premier League sporting director as 'ideal candidate' identified

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe is laying the foundations at Manchester United with some major hires.

Manchester United have set their sights on Dougie Freedman with reports suggesting they will soon make an 'official approach' for the Crystal Palace sporting director.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been working behind the scenes to completely overhaul United's recruitment operations, following confirmation of his arrival as a minority shareholder. The INEOS chief has taken complete control of footballing operations and already poached Omar Berrada from Manchester City to become the club's new chief executive.

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United hope to bring in more experts above manager Erik ten Hag before the summer and Sky Sports reports they are preparing an approach to take on Freedman as their head of recruitment. The 49-year-old is said to be open to the move despite such strong links with Palace, and it is currently unclear whether the London club would demand compensation.

In his seven years as sporting director at Palace, Freedman has been influential in the signing of several top young talents including Marc Guehi, Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze. The latter pair made the step up from the Championship and Freedman has a strong eye for promising young stars, which fits in with the INEOS transfer strategy.

As head of recruitment, Freedman would be expected to work alongside a sporting director, the role currently occupied by John Murtough. United's desire to lure Dan Ashworth across from Newcastle has been well documented and negotiations are expected as the clubs try to agree on a compensation fee.

United have made Ashworth their top target to take over as sporting director but will not rush into their decision and overpay for his services. Currently, the Magpies recruitment chief is on gardening leave.

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Once INEOS have filled all of their respective posts within the recruitment department, a decision is expected to be made with regards to the future of Ten Hag. Qualification for next season's Champions League is thought to be imperative but is looking unlikely after consecutive defeats left United 11 points short of Aston Villa in fourth and six points away from Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.

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