Andrea Berta is reportedly being lined up to become the new director of football at Manchester United.
Chief Executive Ed Woodward is planning a major restructuring behind the scenes at Old Trafford, with the Italian transfer guru considered high on the club’s priority list.
But just who is the man United are targeting?
Here’s a quick fact file on the Atletico Madrid sporting director.
Oversaw Atletico’s rise
The Italian joined Atletico Madrid from Serie A side Genoa in 2013, having previously worked at Parma as well.
When Berta joined the club, Radamel Falcao signed for Monaco for a mammoth €60million fee, with Diego Costa coming to the fore for Los Rojiblancos that season. David Villa, Jose Gimenez, and Toby Alderweireld were among the major signings in that summer transfer window.
At the end of the season, Atletico were La Liga champions for the first time in 18 years.
Since then, they’ve reached two Champions League finals and won the Europa League. In that time, Berta has risen from scout to technical director to overall sporting director, in charge not just of player recruitment but all first-team operations.
It’s safe to say he’s presided over the most successful period in club history.
Under Berta, Atletico have made a habit of unearthing gems and turning handsome profits. Alderweireld, Diego Costa, Arda Turan and Jackson Martinez are among the players sold in big-money moves during Berta’s time at the Wanda Metropolitano.
But what’s most impressive is his record as a recruiter. He was responsible for the signings of Antoine Griezmann and Jan Oblak in 2014 when they were signed for €30million and €16million respectively. The Italian also oversaw the return of Costa, as well as a stunning summer 2018 window in which Griezmann and Diego Godin were tied down to new contracts and Rodri, Thomas Lemar, Nikola Kalinic and Gelson Martins were among the new players recruited.
What would United get?
Berta is one name in a small shortlist of candidates being reported on as a potential director of football at United. The club are looking to restructure their entire top-level football set-up, in order to streamline recruitment and transfers.
The Atletico director may be the perfect man for the job at Old Trafford. He has a reputation in Europe for being among the continent’s better talent-spotters, as well as for his ability to get a deal over the line.
Plus, having worked exclusively with Diego Simeone as manager, Berta will understand the idea of establishing a footballing philosophy and recruiting players who fit that. Whether that would put him at odds with Jose Mourinho wold have to be seen. Mourinho has a rigid footballing system that doesn’t quite match with the club’s overall philosophy, which may cause clashes sometimes. But then, that’s part and parcel of the job – especially when working with the Portuguese.
The Red Devils boss had been desperate to reinforce his backline in the transfer window, with the 30-year-old among the players targeted.
It is understood United had been keen to bring Boateng on loan rather than the permanent deal Bayern Munich had been looking for.
The Old Trafford giants had misgivings over his fitness, but the Germany international nipped any interest in the bud during a conversation with Mourinho.
“I had enquiries from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and I considered them,” he told Bild.
“Not because I wanted to leave Bayern Munich by all means. It was no escape, but rather the thrill of a new challenge.
“I feel completely content at Bayern, one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
He added: “I phoned Jose Mourinho and told him that his interest honoured me and thanked him that he put his back into United for me.
“I explained to him my reasons for not joining.
“It’s difficult to leave Bayern. Everything has to fall in place to top this club, if I do it.”
In an interview to be broadcast with French football show Telefoot due to be aired on Sunday, Pogba seemed to indicate he would be open to joining Barcelona in the future should United decide to sell him.
Since joining up with France’s squad for the international break, Pogba has sparked speculation over his future by suggesting that he could leave Old Trafford as early as the January transfer window.
“I’m playing there at the moment, but who knows what will happen in the next few months,” he said earlier this week before Les Bleus drew 0-0 in their UEFA Nations League opener with Germany.
Pogba has once again rejected the chance to confirm he will see out his contract at United and dropped another hint about his turbulent relationship with Jose Mourinho.
“I’m under contract,” Pogba tells Telefoot in the interview.
“There were little things with the coach [Mourinho], the relationship is always the same.
“We have goals in common, we want to win, that’s all that matters. As long as you do not see me with the Barcelona jersey, it’s because I’m in Manchester. It will always be rumours.”
Barca were keen on signing Pogba in the summer but United rejected an offer of £45 million plus Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes for the midfielder.
Pogba still has three years remaining on his current contract and United also have the option to extend it for a further season until the summer of 2022.