At first glance the appointment of 50 new scouts at Manchester United may seem excessive, yet life after Sir Alex Ferguson has exposed a gap that needs bridging.
The Daily Mail report that United are revamping their scouting network chiefly in order to pick up the best young talent from around the globe, as club suits feel the likes of great rivals Manchester City have left them trailing when it comes to youth recruitment especially.
This seems well worth the investment given that City are rapidly establishing themselves as the new benchmark for Premier League clubs both in that capacity and most importantly in terms of success on the pitch at senior level.
Times have obviously changed since Sir Alex Ferguson famously blooded the Class of 92, yet United’s academy, be they homegrown or foreign players nurtured from a young age, has not produced enough talent at the required level to regularly play first-team football lately.
Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are the obvious exceptions to the rule, yet given the funds available now TV money has swelled coffers even further, spending many millions on established global stars is a quick fix that makes it doubly hard for academy boys at top Premier League clubs these days.
United are not alone in this problem, yet even in terms of picking up potential stars from under the radar they’ve been outstripped by many clubs, with Southampton and Leicester perhaps the best two examples of flourishing scouting networks at present.
The list of dud purchases since Sir Alex relinquished the reins have certainly stacked up and top-flight finishes of seventh, fourth and fifth make it obvious that scouting has to improve to bring United back to the pinnacle of English football.
Angel Di Maria, Falcao, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellani, Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj have all to a greater or lesser extent been high-profile flops since Ferguson retired.
Red Devils everywhere will be hoping this flood of new scouts working on their clubs behalf can usher in a new era of more shrewd recruitment from the four corners of the globe.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing