Omar Berrada: New Manchester United chief executive says structure key to on-pitch success

Omar Berrada, Manchester United’s new chief executive, says implementing the correct structure at the club is key to the team’s success.

Berrada has also warned overpaying clubs, players and agents in the transfer market can lead to teams finding themselves on a “slippery slope”.

United appointed Berrada from Manchester City, where he was chief football operations officer, earlier this month. The English and European champions have now placed him on gardening leave ahead of his move to Old Trafford.

United said Berrada’s arrival was part of a plan to re-establish themselves as a “title-winning club”, adding: “The club is determined to put football and performance on the pitch back at the heart of everything we do.”

The move came just weeks after Sir Jim Ratcliffe agreed to purchase 25 per cent of the club from the Glazer family – a deal that sees him take the lead on football decisions.

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Pep Guardiola says Manchester United will have to name a stand after Omar Berrada should he bring instant success to the club

Speaking to the Financial Times, Berrada – who spent more than a decade at City – said his previous employers’ success was “by design, not by luck”, explaining that, with an effective structure off the pitch, “success on the pitch will come”.

Berrada – who was speaking before his move to United was confirmed – added: “Our job is to ensure that we’ve created a structure, this ecosystem around everything that we’re doing now to make it as consistent as possible so when there is a downwards cycle, we make it as short as possible”.

Berrada helped City to deliver annual revenues of £712m in 2022/23 – more than United’s £648m – and he felt the achievements of Pep Guardiola’s side were key to those figures.

“The commercial growth of the clubs is predicated or underpinned by success on the pitch,” he explained. “If you have a really good business strategy alongside it, then it just turbocharges the growth off the pitch.”

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The Telegraph’s Jason Burt believes Omar Berrada’s appointment as chief executive is a coup for Manchester United

Berrada’s comments are in stark contrast to those of Ed Woodward, United’s former executive vice-chairman, who said during his time at Old Trafford: “Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business”.

Woodward took a key role in recruitment at United – an area in which the club have received significant criticism. United have not won the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, yet have a net spend of more than £1.13bn – the highest in England, according to Transfermarkt – during that time.

Berrada had a warning for his new club when they are negotiating in the transfer market, saying: “If you have a very solid rationale as to why you’re offering the fee, the salary and the commission, they might not agree with it but they will accept it.

“Once you start overpaying then you lose that argument and that puts you in a much more difficult position to say to the next one, ‘I can only offer you this.'”

Neville: Berrada appointment shows United are on right track

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Gary Neville believes Manchester United’s recruitment of new CEO Omar Berrada is a solid start to what should be a ‘serious football project’ moving forward

Gary Neville says Ratcliffe is already disrupting things at United and believes his former club are “on the right track” with the appointment of Berrada.

Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, he said: “It’s a big job to be CEO of Man Utd, when you think of all the things he has to go at. But there are also some pretty easy wins straight away.

“Communication is really important, to have that voice that the club haven’t had for the last 10 years. He can form part of a new management structure that can build trust with the fans, us and everybody that watches the club.

“They’ve not had someone who has operated in football for a long time and that’s really important. But it’s a big task and all eyes are going to be on him.

“He’s obviously had a brilliant, amazing grounding at Man City and Barcelona, two of the most successful clubs of the last 15 years.

“It looks like Man Utd are making more sound decisions and are on the right track, and that can only be a positive. Ratcliffe was not going to come in and not disrupt things. The disruption has started pretty quickly.

“It was obvious. They hadn’t got a CEO because Richard Arnold stepped down. They haven’t got a sporting director and they haven’t got a notable head of recruitment.

“Those are three roles where owners are most exposed, with the money that gets spent on players, the revenues that get driven.

“It’s part of what I would imagine is a triangle of appointments I’d expect to see in the next few months.”

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Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United are unable to make signings this month due to FFP, having suggested he would like to bring in forward reinforcements

Who is Omar Berrada?

Berrada describes himself on LinkedIn as having 20 years of senior-level experience in football, and someone “with expertise in the management of club business and football operations, including player transactions, sponsorship and media rights.”

Having lived in six different countries, Berrada says he is fluent in four languages. His LinkedIn profile says he is “responsible for managing and optimising group football operations for almost 100 teams across 11 clubs on five continents.”

He has also represented Manchester City and the group in multiple governing roles including with the European Clubs Association and the FA Women’s Super League Board.

He was the chief football operations officer at City Football Group, overseeing talent management, performance services and football intelligence.

Prior to the role – which he had held since September 2016 – Berrada had worked as commercial director for City Football Marketing.

He joined City from Barcelona, having worked for the Spanish club for almost eight years. Berrada held the positions of senior media business development manager and the head of sponsorship during a successful era for the club.

Berrada has over 18 years of senior-level experience in the sports industry and five years in the telecommunications sector.

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