Soccer

Q&A: What is Jason Wilcox’s background and why is he wanted by Man Utd?

The Southampton director of football could become the latest piece in United’s off-field jigsaw.

Jason Wlcox is the latest name linked to an off field move to Manchester United
Old Trafford Jason Wlcox is the latest name linked to an off field move to Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United have made an official approach to hire Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox as part of their off-field overhaul following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the former England winger and the current state of affairs.

What is Wilcox’s background?

Jason Wilcox (pictured right, with Alan Shearer) spent over a decade with Blackburn and helped Rovers clinch the 1995 title
Soccer – FA Carling Premiership – Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United – Ewood Park Jason Wilcox (pictured right, with Alan Shearer) spent over a decade with Blackburn and helped Rovers clinch the 1995 title (John Giles/PA)

He joined Blackburn in 1987 at the age of 16 following a trial, broke into the first team two years later and remained at Ewood Park for the next decade, making 238 appearances. He was a key player in Rovers’ 1995 Premier League title-winning side. Wilcox left for Leeds in 1999 and helped the Yorkshire club reach UEFA Cup and Champions League semi-finals in consecutive seasons before a spell with Leicester and then finishing his career at Blackpool aged 35.

What has he been up to in recent years?

Jason Wilcox (second right) during his time at Manchester City
Soccer – FA Youth Cup Final – Second Leg – Chelsea v Manchester City – Stamford Bridge Jason Wilcox (second right) during his time at Manchester City (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Wilcox took up an academy coaching role with Manchester City in 2012, guiding the under-18s to the national title as well as two FA Youth Cup finals, and was appointed academy director in October 2017. It was announced in January 2023 that he would move to Saints in the summer to oversee all football departments.

Why is he in demand?

Wilcox is understood to have a good working relationship with Omar Berrada (pictured)
Sheffield United v Manchester City – Premier League – Bramall Lane Wilcox is understood to have a good working relationship with Omar Berrada (pictured) (Mike Egerton/PA)

Wilcox developed a reputation for nurturing young talent in the blue half of Manchester, as well as recruiting some of the best prospects in the game. He is understood to have a good relationship with incoming United chief executive Omar Berrada from their time together at City and has been targeted to be the next piece of United’s off-field jigsaw puzzle. Ineos recently took charge of football operations at Old Trafford as part of the deal that saw Ratcliffe become minority owner, and United are looking for a resolution to hire Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth, who has been placed on garden leave.

What will it take to get the deal done?

Ineos recently took charge of football operations at Old Trafford as part of the deal that saw Sir Jim Ratcliffe become minority owner
Sir Jim Ratcliffe File Photo Ineos recently took charge of football operations at Old Trafford as part of the deal that saw Sir Jim Ratcliffe become minority owner (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Red Devils have offered compensation commensurate to a year’s salary, but Southampton want a bigger package. United want Wilcox in place for the summer and are hoping for an amicable outcome. A report emerged during Southampton’s match against Ipswich on Monday evening that Wilcox had resigned, which would mean him serving a 12-month notice period before he could take up a new role.