Steve Parish, the chairman and co-owner of Crystal Palace, has denied rumors that Dougie Freedman, the club’s sporting director, may join Manchester United.
With the British billionaire set to purchase 25% of the team from the Glazer family in an effort to eventually seize complete control of the organization, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the team is getting closer.
Short-term goals for Ratcliffe include overhauling the football department, and because chief executive Richard Arnold is expected to retire, one of his top responsibilities will be appointing a sporting director.
Arnold’s position will be filled by Jean-Claude Blanc, a prominent figure at Ineos Sport. Meanwhile, there have been rumors circulating for the past week that Crystal Palace’s Freedman is a top candidate to become Manchester United’s new sporting director.
As Ratcliffe attempts to put the team back on track, connections have been made to Paul Mitchell of Tottenham as well as former Liverpool players Michael Edwards and Julian Ward.
However, Parish maintains that he is unaware of any “conversations” between Man Utd and Freedman regarding a potential transfer to Old Trafford.
When questioned about the reports, Parish stated on The Rest is Football podcast, “The fact he’s being linked with clubs like that show he’s doing the right thing.”
“Wouldn’t it be necessary for you to enter those individuals’ [United decision makers’] heads? There haven’t, in my opinion, been any discussions. It’s encouraging for the team.
In the world in which you guys live, half of the tales that appear in the media are real. Half aren’t. Simply put, we are unsure which ones yet.
“[He has] been quite significant. He is an intelligent man. I had had two managers at the club before him. He played a key role in our promotion.
“He’s been crucial; as a player, he prevented the club’s relegation from the Championship when he scored a last-minute goal at Stockport.” He played for Wolves and helped us get promoted.
“He puts in a lot of effort and has a genuine connection to the club. We’ve added several excellent players to our roster, but more significantly, we enjoy working with him throughout the transfer window—perhaps the most challenging aspect of the job.
Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United defender, isn’t sure that Freedman would be the best choice for the position at Old Trafford.
In response to rumors tying the sporting director of Crystal Palace to Manchester United, Ferdinand stated on his YouTube channel Vibe with Five: “His name has come out of left field.” I don’t recall hearing anyone exclaim, “Wow, look at what Palace is doing.” I understand that Paul Mitchell has a track record of success; the same is true for Michael Edwards and Julian Ward at Liverpool.
They both have a recognized body of successful work, as does Dan Ashworth, who worked with England, Brighton, and Newcastle. That seems sense, yet no one ever says that about Palace. Three players you look at that have been good additions are (Marc) Guehi, (Eberechi) Eze, and (Michael) Olise; yet, for every one of those, there are others that haven’t worked out.
“You can’t fathom why United would pursue him given their reputation. While John Murtough has held jobs unrelated to football, Dan Ashworth has held these positions previously. He was providing support in the background, not with football-related tasks.