Southampton Set To Lose Key Figure

Southampton are in a battle to keep hold of Jason Wilcox after Manchester United made an official approach for the Director of Football, according to a Mirror report.

United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is now in charge of football operations at Old Trafford and is keen to add the highly-rated Wilcox to his new look department.

Since taking a 27.7% stake in the Manchester giants, Ratcliffe and his INEOS group have already brought in Omar Berrada as the new CEO and have caused upset at Newcastle United by showing interest in Dan Ashworth.

The Red Devils are not set to cause further upset, this time on the South Coast. Reports are claiming that United have offered the Saints a year of Wilcox’s salary as compensation.

The 13-time Premier League champions believe this meets a release clause in the former Blackburn Rovers winger’s contract but the St Mary’s outfit are disputing the existence of this clause.

United’s timing and manner of approach for Wilcox has reportedly angered those at Southampton as the Saints are battling it out for an immediate return to the Premier League.

Further reports suggest that 52-year-old Wilcox has already handed in his resignation, a move that would trigger a 12-month notice period. New CEO Barrada knows the former England international from their time together at United’s city rivals Manchester City.

Wilcox spent 11 years at the Etihad, working his way from coach to academy director where he oversaw the development of players such as Phil Foden and Cole Palmer. Barrada is hopeful the ex-Leeds United man will work under Ashworth, spearheading United’s recruitment department.

Writer’s View

Southampton will be disappointed to lose a key figure like Wilcox. Despite the club’s frustration at the timing of United’s approach, it is surely better for any deal to be struck now rather than during the off-season.

Losing the man who leads recruitment during the summer will disrupt the Saints’ preparation for next season, whether that be in the Championship or back in the top flight.

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