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Why Manchester United are at war with Southampton over Jason Wilcox



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Manchester United are at war with Southampton over football director Jason Wilcox. It is understood that United have approached Southampton over hiring Wilcox. National Daily however learnt that United’s manner and timing of approach had angered the Saints. But United have insisted they have been respectful with their dealing.

United want Wilcox to be part of their new recruitment team as their new technical director. It is believed that the Old Trafford club have made an offer equivalent to a year of his salary.

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The Red Devils believe their offer meets a buyout clause in Wilcox contract. Southampton are however disputing the clause’s existence. They are now prepared to make him serve a year’s notice period before he can take a job elsewhere.

With eight games left, Saints are chasing promotion from the the Championship and are annoyed with United’s timing of approach.

United however believe they have been respectful and have followed correct processes throughout their pursuit so far. For them, it is unrealistic for Southampton to expect a higher sum.

Southampton on the other hand want the fee for Wilcox to reflect that they would be losing him at a crucial stage. Currently, there appear to be an impasse with United believing they have met the contractual requirements for his release.

Wilcox made his name in football administration at Manchester City. He was a coach and then academy director during his time at the Etihad.

He joined City in 2012 after spending a few years out of the game post-retirement. He led the side to a league title win and two FA Youth Cups after taking over the U18s a year later.

Wilcox then assumed the role as academy director in 2017. There he oversaw the structuring of staff, development of players and instilling of a professional ethos.

Remarkably, both City’s U21s and U18s won three consecutive league titles under his leadership In the three years running up to his departure to Southampton last year. During this time, the likes of Oscar Bobb, Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer, who all subsequently broke into the City first team were featured.

The City academy also sold a raft of players for profit across Europe during his time, including Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia to Southampton.

Among his staff at City was Joe Shields, who also went to Southampton and is now part of Chelsea’s recruitment setup. Chelsea have since signed Lavia.

To their credit, Southampton’s owners Sport Republic took a risk in bringing Wilcox from an academy to oversee their entire club as sporting director – but he has been able to install some of the same structures and ethos into the Saints in just nine months there.

He oversaw the appointment of Martin as manager and last summer’s player recruitment, which included Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Shea Charles on loan from Man City.

Southampton have been competing for promotion straight back to the Premier League all season, although Monday’s defeat to Ipswich left them 12 points short of the top two albeit with two games in hand.