Manchester United are keen to appoint Atletico Madrid transfer guru Andrea Berta as their first ever director of football in a huge restructuring move.
Tensions between executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Jose Mourinho have only intensified as the Portuguese extends his tenure in charge of the club.
However, signing the Italian Berta would represent a huge step in the right direction for the club and would go a long way to easing their relationship.
According to the Evening Standard, Berta is the top target for the new role and they hope to complete a deal before the end of the calendar year.
The 46-year-old was appointed as sports director last year at Atletico having been the technical director for four years.
During that time, he oversaw the signings of Jan Oblak and Antoine Griezmann, and successfully orchestrated a deal to bring Diego Costa back to the club.
This summer, he beat a host of top European clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal to the signing of Thomas Lemar from Monaco.
Berta also played a huge part in ensuring Griezmann and Diego Godin signed new deals at the club.
The Italian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before. In 2016, United chiefs considered bringing him to the club when they appointed Jose Mourinho as Louis van Gaal’s successor.
However, Woodward decided to stay in control of transfers himself – something he has done himself since 2013.
Although the world record signing of Paul Pogba was seen as a personal triumph, there have been many big names who have opted to move elsewhere.
Failed moves for Cesc Fabregas and Gareth Bale five years ago meant only Marouane Fellaini joined the club in the summer of David Moyes’ ill-fated reign.
Should the Red Devils fail to sign Berta, there are currently three other leading contenders.
Former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur transfer maestro Paul Mitchell – now at RB Leipzig- has long been a contender. Failing that, Juventus’ Fabio Paratici has also been recommended.
Leonardo Bonucci, Paolo Dybala, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal all arrived at the club during his tenure, and the Italian has a penchant for snapping up world-class players for bargain transfer fees.
Including the signing of former United hero Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, Paratici also brought Dani Alves, Patrice Evra and Emre Can to the Bianconieri for nothing.
He is so highly-rated in fact, it is reported that the Old Trafford hierarchy want him more than Roma superstar Monchi, widely recognised as the best in the business in the role.