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Who is Paul Mitchell? Manchester United's director of football target profiled

18:37 BST 17/04/2019
Paul Mitchell Red Bull Leipzig
With the Red Devils mulling over their options for the newly established transfer chief role, Goal takes a look at one possible candidate

Recruitment has been a chronic issue for Manchester United in recent seasons, but it looks like the club are taking steps to ensure they are better equipped to compete in the transfer market.

The need for a dedicated director of football has become increasingly obvious and it is certainly high on the agenda as the Premier League giants attempt to keep up with Europe's elite.

However, it remains to be seen who will fill the new role, with a handful of former players and a number of other candidates from the administrative realm being touted for the job.

One name that has been frequently mentioned is Paul Mitchell, but who is he? Goal takes a look at the man linked with the Red Devils director of football role.

Who is Paul Mitchell?

Mitchell is a former footballer, albeit one who never quite scaled the heights of the game, having plied his trade mainly in England's lower leagues with the likes of Wigan Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons.

Despite his less-than-salubrious background, however, he now finds himself in Germany at upwardly mobile Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, serving as the club's head of recruitment.

A Manchester native, Mitchell's transition from player to non-player was premature - he retired at the age of 27 - and has seen him take the road less travelled, moving into behind-the-scenes administration rather than the prosaic route of coaching.

His eye for talent has been a clear strength throughout his post-playing career and he has steadily distinguished himself in recruitment positions at MK Dons, Southampton, Tottenham and now Leipzig.

In fact, his work has not only led to links with Manchester United, but a number of other clubs too, including Arsenal and Chelsea.

Mitchell recently admitted that he would have "a decision" to make this summer, but stressed that he was enjoying his job at RB Leipzig.

“I also heard the rumours,” he told Bild. “But it is clear, I have a contract in Leipzig until 2020.

“I like my job and I am treated very well. There will certainly be a decision in the summer.”

Which players has Paul Mitchell recruited?

When it comes to director of football roles candidates are generally rated based on the players they have managed to bring to a particular club and the more profitable such acquisitions are, the better.

Monchi, for example, is credited with having discovered a host of future stars at Sevilla, including Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos and Ivan Rakitic, all of whom were transferred to bigger clubs for considerable fees.

Mitchell's list of discoveries and signings are not yet as impressive as Monchi's, but he has a number of notable success stories in his relatively short time in elite-level football.

At Tottenham he is credited with having unearthed Dele Alli as well as bringing Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier to north London.

Prior to that, at Southampton, Mitchell is said to have been instrumental in signing Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle.

He has only been in place at Leipzig since February 2018, but some of the club's signings since then give an idea of how far he is spreading the net.

Marcelo Saracchi - a senior Uruguay international - arrived from River Plate, France Under-21 international Nordi Mukiele joined from Montpellier and Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha signed from Swiss outfit Sion.

It remains to be seen how the aforementioned trio will ultimately turn out, of course, but the early signs have been positive.

What is a director of football?

A director of football - sometimes known as technical director - is essentially the person responsible for a club's overall philosophy and the implementation thereof.

As you can imagine, the best way to project concepts into reality and onto the football pitch is to find suitable players who are capable of bringing the vision to life. Therefore, player recruitment is generally the director of dootball's chief concern, be it at youth level, senior level, or indeed, as is often the case, both.

The aforementioned Monchi is one of the most notable examples of recent times, but other world-renowned directors of football include Txiki Begiristain, who worked with Barcelona before moving to Manchester City, and Leonardo, who served at Paris Saint-Germain and is now leading AC Milan's recruitment drive along with Paolo Maldini.