While United are unlikely to embark on a spending spree during the January transfer window, that doesn’t mean the club’s scouts can put their feet up.
Sir Alex may be happy with his current squad, but, as Chief Scout Jim Lawlor tells Manchester United Radio, there is always work to be done...
Can we expect United to get involved in the transfer market this month?
January wouldn’t be a period where we’ll look to do much recruitment. Last year we took in a couple of players but it’s a risky period because many of them are cup-tied in Europe. If you feel you need a player and they’re going to give you the strength after the Christmas period to get through the rest of the season, it’s certainly a possibility. We take [the transfer window] seriously and look at all the opportunities. We’ll do that again this month.
So what do you and your team do now?
Well, scouting is not all about recruitment. It’s also about preparing information on the opposition before we play them. So we travel and watch a lot of other teams. It’s an essential part of what makes the club work.
What kind of resources do United give over to scouting?
We have one of the bigger scouting networks because we look to recruit the very best players in the world and you can’t do that by scouting in just one country. We have an extensive network, which is growing all the time. Hopefully that will help us acquire the very best players.
Where are your scouts concentrated?
We have our greatest number of scouts in the UK. But players can come from anywhere in the world. You only have to look at some of the top players in world football and they come from small countries in Africa and other places. So we keep our scouts active everywhere and keep an open mind.
Are you more partial to English players?
The cultural differences, the language, the understanding of the league and how the game is played in England can be difficult for foreign players to grasp. Certainly, British players often settle in at new clubs a lot quicker.
So how does the scouting process begin?