Manchester United are on the verge of appointing a successor to Ed Woodward and hope to make an official announcement as early as next month, according to reports.
The Premier League giants announced in April that the club’s executive vice-chairman would leave his role before the end of the year following the fallout from United’s attempt to join the European Super League.
Woodward has continued to play a key role behind the scenes despite his looming departure and was an integral part of the club’s move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.
That is likely to be his last major contribution before he leaves and United’s board have been working tirelessly to find a replacement to fill one of the most powerful jobs in world football.
Now Sky News are reporting that, after a thorough search, United have elected to promote Richard Arnold – currently group managing director at the club – to the role.
United’s search was narrowed down to three main candidates, all of whom were already at the club, with a clear preference to promote Woodward’s successor internally.
An official announcement confirming that Arnold – who first joined United in 2007 as commercial director – will take over from Woodward could be made as early as October.
However, the decision has yet to be formally signed off by the club’s owners, the Glazers, and may be delayed, though the announcement should be made before the end of the year when Woodward steps down.
Manchester United have declined to comment on the reports, describing them only as ‘speculation’.
Woodward has been at the club since 2005 and was given the unenviably task of replaced CEO David Gill in 2012; despite huge commercial revenue, the 49-year-old’s reign coincided with the club’s worst trophy drought since the 1980s during a four-year spell without silverware.
He has received significant criticism for failing to back a host of managers in the transfer market, though his final window saw the club sign Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in a huge outlay.