Manchester United make approach for Southampton’s Jason Wilcox

Manchester United have made a formal approach to take Jason Wilcox from Southampton as part of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s summer recruitment overhaul. United want Wilcox, who joined Southampton as director of football last year, to fulfil a prominent role in the revamped footballing ­department as technical director.

United are confident of ­securing Wilcox but Southampton, who are vying for an immediate return to the Premier League, are seeking a greater compensation ­package and are unhappy at the timing of ­United’s approach. United are believed to have offered around a year of the former Blackburn winger’s ­salary in compensation with ­Ratcliffe viewing him as a pillar in his ­reshaping of the club.

If United can strike a deal ­Wilcox would work alongside the incoming director of football, Dan Ashworth, the sporting director placed on ­gardening leave by Newcastle in Feb­ruary. Newcastle want about £20m in ­compensation for Ashworth.

Wilcox, who won three England caps, joined Manchester City’s staff as an academy coach in 2012 before being appointed ­academy director five years later. He is credited with overseeing the develop­ment of Phil Foden, Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer at City.

Since joining ­Southampton, ­Wilcox has been influential in ­bringing a number of talented City ­youngsters to the club. Saints signed Shea Charles and Taylor ­Harwood‑Bellis last summer, while Roméo Lavia, Gavin Bazunu, Samuel Edozie and Juan Larios previously joined Saints from City.

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Wilcox left City to help rebuild Saints after more than a decade at the club but could be reunited with Omar Berrada, United’s incoming chief executive officer who resigned from a similar role at City in ­January. Ratcliffe set about making several “world-class” appointments upon completing the acquisition of a minority 27.7% stake in the Old ­Trafford club in February.

The British billionaire recently discounted the possibility of ­making superstar signings and is minded to give Erik ten Tag at least the rest of the season in charge. United, who visit Chelsea on Thursday, are sixth in the Premier League.

“I would rather sign the next Mbappé than spend a fortune buying success,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s not that clever buying Mbappé. Anyone could figure that one out. “More ­chal­lenging is to find the next Mbappé or next ­Bellingham or next Roy Keane.”

The Guardian