The premium space in gossip columns is usually dedicated to players or managers, but Manchester United today find themselves linked to a Sporting Director.
According to The Telegraph, if Jose Mourinho replaces Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, the Portuguese boss wants to bring in Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta.
The Italian Sporting Director is another client of the super-agent Jorge Mendes, adding credence to the speculation, and assisted during Atletico’s rise under Diego Simeone.
Berta joined Atleti in 2010 and brought in a number of player’s that were crucial to their successes.
Diego Costa, Diego Godin, Tiago and Filipe Luis were part of the first raft of signings, while Radamel Falcao, Arda Turan, Juanfran, Gabi, Miranda and Thibaut Courtois on loan followed the season after.
Falcao is the only one of those not to have won La Liga with the Madrid side, due to his £51m transfer to Monaco.
Furthermore, when Simeone’s men made the Champions League final in 2014, only two of the starting 11 for that clash hadn’t been brought in under Berta, while all of the three substitutes to take to the pitch joined the club after 2010.
Clearly, Atleti’s Italian has a strong pedigree and it is understandable why Mourinho would want to bring him with him if he heads to Man Utd.
Berta’s standing in the game that this is not the first time he has been courted by one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Peter Lim wanted to bring him to Valencia after he completed his takeover, but instead has to settle for the combined wisdom of the Neville brothers, while Inter Milan tried to return him to his homeland last summer.
Atletico rejected all those approaches, but turning down United will be more difficult due to the affiliation with Mendes and the 18 months Berta has left on his contract.