Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of a football director and technical director that will change how the club negotiate transfers.
The positions have been widely discussed and rumoured for a while, with a list of big names in the game being linked with the positions, although the club have confirmed they have promoted from within.
John Murtough, who has been with United for seven years and is currently head of football development, will be the new football director while Darren Fletcher, who joined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s staff earlier this season, will be technical director.
What's been said?
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success.
"We have already made great strides forward in the way we run our football operations, and the benefits are visible in the resurgent pipeline of academy talent reaching the first team and through our improved recruitment record.
"John has been integral to our progress in these areas and his deep understanding of development ensures the club’s traditions of bringing young players through from academy to first team will continue. This new position is a natural evolution that harnesses his leadership qualities and his years of experience in the game.
"Darren’s stellar achievements as a player and his own journey from academy to Premier League and Champions League winner means he naturally commands respect and understands this vital part of the club’s DNA.
"In this new role, the first in our history, he will deliver technical advice across all aspects of the football department as well as contributing to the communication and delivery of our football philosophy across all areas of the club.
"I am delighted that John and Darren have accepted these roles and I look forward to the contribution they will make, together with Ole and the rest of the staff, as we build toward future success."
Murtough added: "This is such an exciting time for everyone at Manchester United with the first team, academy and women’s team all performing strongly, and plenty of development still to come.
"It’s a privilege to be part of that process, and an honour to lead Manchester United’s football department, working alongside Ole, Casey [Stoney, women's team head coach] and so many other truly outstanding staff all dedicated to delivering success to this club."
Fletcher said of his appointment: "It is great to be back with the club and I am delighted to be taking on this new role. We are moving in the right direction and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Ole and his coaching team, and now with John as the football director, to help bring young players through and further develop the football side of the club.
"It’s fantastic to see that all the staff here are driving Manchester United forward towards a new era of success."
What do the new roles entail?
When United negotiate transfers in their current way of working Matt Judge takes charge of the majority of the discussions and, while executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is involved to an extent, he doesn't have an active role in the talks.
Judge has been given a new title as director of football negotiations but his role within the club remains the same. Murtough and Fletcher, meanwhile, will be present at the training ground and will work with Solskjaer on a day-to-day basis on recruitment and other strategies.
Former United midfielder Fletcher will support Murtough on the technical side using his previous playing experience and knowledge, with a view to aiding the recruitment process.
Murtough was brought to the club by David Moyes and has been at Old Trafford for seven years, mainly working at academy level.
His current title is head of football development and he has 23 years of experience in senior football having been head of elite performance at the Premier League before his move to United. He has also held senior academy and player development roles at other clubs.
He was the force behind setting up the women’s team and has been central to the overhaul in recruitment at academy level in recent years, which has seen the club bring in the best young talent from abroad.