Five things... On Ed Woodward's to-do list

1) Charge phone
As Ed Woodward’s jet touched down on the warm Barcelona tarmac last Monday, he quite possibly adjusted his tie, surveyed his surroundings with satisfaction and quietly, triumphantly whispered to himself, “I’m the man.” Hot on the heels of Depay, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin and Darmian would come Pedro, and Ed was the hotshot chief executive handed the important task of flying to Spain to seal the deal. Unfortunately for Manchester United’s transfer fixer, Chelsea had found an even quicker route to Catalonia - the telephone. And while Woodward was strutting confidently towards Camp Nou with sweat gathering in his armpits, Pedro was already being smooth-talked into an alternative deal by Jose Mourinho. In future, Ed’s mobile will be permanently charged.

2) Adjust expectations
Making enormous bids for the likes of Thomas Muller and Sergio Ramos is a double-edged sword. While it shows ambition and excites the fans, there’s a backlash when the likes of Muller and Ramos ultimately sign a new contract with their clubs and make it appear that Woodward has failed. This can be avoided if United focus on players that are more likely to join them. Admittedly, they already tried this with the modestly revered Pedro. But his move to Chelsea indicates that Woodward may need to aim even lower. Sadio Mane is a step in the right direction. If that one doesn’t work out, Woodward may have to go all guns blazing for Joey Barton, even if United don’t actually sign him. It’s all about perception.

3) Increase pizzazz
Some believe the world’s elite players are more inclined to leave their clubs when they are persuaded to do so by the likes of Mourinho, rather than by a 43-year-old accountant from Essex. Whether this is true or just an unfair public perception, Woodward could benefit on either count from revamping his image. The simple addition of some designer sunglasses, especially in these summer months, might make him appear less hapless when things go wrong. He could also rehearse some good, smutty jokes - the kind Mourinho would tell - to disarm players and make them like him. If he really wants to push the boat out, a gold tooth or a hip-hop medallion would would provide an instant injection of charisma.

4) Hug Rooney
There are suspicions that Woodward and Wayne Rooney have not been close since the England striker turned his back on baldness and got a hair transplant, while Woodward continues to proudly embrace the receding hairline. But whatever has happened in the past, the follically challenged pair must make peace because Woodward needs Rooney more than ever. The longer United’s No.10 goes without scoring, the more pressure there is on Woodward to sign a marquee forward. Rooney needs support during this difficult period of miscontrolling passes and falling over, and a warm hug from his balding adversary Woodward could just be the boost he needs to rediscover his best form.

5) Buy player
Although Woodward has masterminded the capture of four fine players this summer - all of whom have looked assured in United’s unbeaten start to the season - the perceived calamities with Pedro, Nicolas Otamendi and Ramos mean the accountant needs to turn things back in his favour before 1 September, when the transfer window closes. That means he simply must be photographed holding up a freshly laundered United shirt with at least one smiling superstar at some point in the next 11 days. Ideally it would be Gareth Bale or Muller, but even if it’s Mane or someone else from Southampton the United spin machine could make it work. If it’s Barton, then Ed could have a problem.



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