New Man United director of football John Murtough was responsible for the staggering gaffe that cost the chance to sign Erling Haaland for just £3million, Football Insider has learned.
A time zone mix-up in August 2018 meant that RB Salzburg were able to beat United to the signing of the striker, a move that was completed on New Year’s Day the following year.
Everton’s former Scandinavian scout Brian King has previously detailed how a misunderstanding cost United the chance of signing the goal machine.
Haaland’s then-agent Jim Solbakken had agreed to take a call from a representative of the English giants at 9am in mid-August to finalise a deal worth £3million plus add ons.
Molde believed it would be 9am Norwegian time but when the call came through from United it was then 10am in Scandinavia, who were an hour ahead in the time zones.
By then Molde had agreed a deal with Salzburg, who had rung at the agreed time.
“It was just simply a lack of communication – a freak situation with no one to blame,” King told the Mirror.
The identity of the United representative has not previously been revealed.
A source involved in the deal has told Football Insider that it was Murtough who had been charged with making the call that day to Solbakken.
His gaffe that day has not stopped him landing a plum new job.
He was promoted to become United’s first-ever director of football last week after previously being their head of football development.
Murtough will work closely with manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer, who managed Haaland at Molde and helped nurture the skills that have made him the world’s most in-demand striker.