With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm for Manchester United following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, it should come as little surprise that a backroom shake-up is on the way at Old Trafford.
What will likely have come as a surprise is that Erik Stoffelshaus, a little-known German, is in contention to be named as the club's sporting director.
Goal understands that the 48-year-old has been headhunted by the club, and his resignation from his position as sporting director at Lokomotiv Moscow on Friday opens the door for him to take over with the Premier League side.
“Dear friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “After two wonderful years in Moscow, I have decided it is time for something new in my life.
“That's why I give up my position as the sporting director of Lokomotiv Moscow. But not without saying thank you.
“Thank you for a time that will remain in my memory forever. Celebrating the cup victory and the long-awaited third championship with this club - that was something very special.
“And one thing is clear: I‘m leaving as the sporting director, but I will stay as a supporter of this magnificent club. Thanks for everything and see you soon!”
Dear friends, after two wonderful years in Moscow, I decided it was time for something new in my life - that's why I give up my position as the Sporting Director of Lokomotiv Moscow. But not without saying thank you. Thank you for a time that will remain in my memory forever. Celebrating the cup victory and the long-awaited third championship with this club - that was something very special. And one thing is clear: I‘m leaving as the Sporting Director, but I will stay as a supporter of this magnificent club. Thanks for everything and see you soon! Дорогие друзья! После двух замечательных лет в Москве я решил, что настало время для чего-то нового в моей жизни – поэтому я снимаю с себя обязанности спортивного директора «Локомотива». Но не без слов благодарности. Спасибо за время, которое я всегда буду вспоминать с теплотой как в спортивном, так и в бытовом плане. Праздновать вместе с этой командой победу в Кубке России и долгожданный третий титул Чемпиона – это было нечто особенное. И ясно одно: я ухожу как спортивный директор. Но я остаюсь ярым поклонником этого замечательного клуба. Спасибо за все и до скорой встречи! #локомотив #fclokomotiv #рпл #тольколоко #самыйлучшийколлектив
Appointed as sporting director for Lokomotiv in January 2017, the German cut his teeth with Bundesliga side Schalke, where he spent two years as a youth coach and six more as an assistant manager to the club’s youth academy, helping grow his reputation as the club produced one top talent after another from its youth ranks.
Among the players to come through Schalke during his time with the club are stars such as Manuel Nueur and Mesut Ozil, along with the likes of Benedikt Howedes - as well as playing a part in the transfer of Ivan Rakitic from FC Basel.
He left the club in 2014 to take on a role as a technical director at the York Region Soccer Association in Canada, with his connection in North America and Asia understood to be part of the allure for the Old Trafford side.
“The experience I got at Schalke 04 was in demand in Canada,” Stoffelshaus said after being appointed at Loko. “And it was a very interesting part of my career. I learnt new things, lived in a different environment, and improved my English.”
His time in Russia is what really catches the eye, however.
He is credited with facilitating the club’s contracts with Jefferson Farfan, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Fyodor Smolov, and Howedes, and the moves paid off for the club in a major way.
Having won the Russian cup in his first year with the club, Stoffelshaus helped the side to a Russian league title, the third in Lokomotiv’s history, in the 2017-18 season.
Should Stoffelshaus be appointed as sporting director at Manchester United he will be the first in the club’s history, but the Red Devils face competition for his services.
In the last year, he has been linked to sporting director posts at Huddersfield Town and West Ham United, while the Mülheim an der Ruhr native himself admitted in October that he would like to return to Germany some day.
On that score, German top-flight side Hannover are understood to be admirers, while Stoffelshaus is also believed to hold offers in North America and with the Russian federation.
Should he be offered the Manchester United job, however, it seems unlikely that he would turn down the chance to be part of one of football's largest and most respected clubs.