Manchester United have Erik ten Hag in his place, but what’s the big plan?

It goes without saying that the old idea at United that the club would just continue to prosper has been well and truly refuted over the past nine years and as each season goes by the roadmap becomes more and more difficult.

This week brought more departures from the club. The academy coach Neil Ryan was the last to leave. He joins the most prominent leavers, including Jim Lawlor and Marcel Bout of a massive scouting division that is being streamlined. Coaches Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Martyn Pert all left in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s farewell. Of the remaining group, Eric Ramsay is Ten Hag’s choice to join his assistants. At Old Trafford, Patrick Coyle is the last to run under the title of chief of staff, following in the footsteps of others such as Head of Corporate Finance Hemen Tseayo, transfer negotiator Matt Judge, and before that the previous man to the throne, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward.

When Rangnick resigns from his interim duties, his three-man staff will follow, and there will no doubt be more. Football clubs are naturally places of rapid change when the circumstances demand it, but this is still a significant moment in United’s life.

Murtough replies to new chief executive Richard Arnold, the main channel to the Glazers. There has been no great pressure from United to name a big name among the football directors who have built a reputation in the game. Dan Ashworth has left Brighton and Hove Albion for Newcastle United. Michael Edwards leaves Liverpool for a career break after the Champions League final. United have approached Andy O’Boyle, the Premier League’s elite performance chief, but that would be to fill the deputy director of football, Murtough’s junior.

O’Boyle, who coached the United Academy 16 years ago, has expertise in sports science and fitness, having spent the past few years working in that field at the Football Association and Liverpool. If it is him or anyone with a similar streak, that would suggest that part of the club is one that United are looking to tackle with a senior appointment.

Of the least immediate concern will be their academy, who have been a shining light even in the post-Ferguson era and last week’s FA Youth Cup victory will have been a welcome distraction for the club. But if there’s one lesson learned, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. There’s also the question of how United are handling what comes out of the Mason Greenwood episode.

Murtough returned from Amsterdam in time on Thursday to watch Tottenham Hotspur’s win over Arsenal that evening from the hospitality box of one of the biggest agencies in the game. The first post-Ajax meeting with Ten Hag will have been an important milestone in United’s great rebuilding, but it really is just one of many on the way. As always in the complicated, volatile world of football, events have to adapt. But if ever a club needs a detailed plan to get where it needs to be, it’s United.

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