5th January 2018.
There has already been plenty of press briefings this January, as the supposed rift between the Manchester United Board and Jose Mourinho widens.

The Portuguese boss has made it quite obvious that he does not have complete faith in the Board to complete and bring in the players he desires.

Mourinho wanted both Antoine Griezmann and Ivan Periši? last summer, but ended up with neither and now does not possess a true wide player that can offer the Red Devils a different means of attack.

Griezmann was perhaps out of the Board's hands, given his mind changed when Atlético Madrid's transfer ban was upheld, but the failure to recruit Periši? was due to Ed Woodward, Man United's executive vice-chairman, squabbling over a few million.

Mourinho said after the win at Everton: "I don't know about transfers.

"In this moment we are in trouble, in two to three weeks' time maybe we recover and we breathe in a different way, can we improve now or do we wait until the summer? I cannot say.

Woodward has divided opinion since taking over from David Gill when Sir Alex Ferguson left his post, with this first summer ending up in only signing Marouane Fellaini for several million more than his buyout clause.

What Woodward does excel in is commercial deals. Consistently, he has pulled them out of the bag and is a major part in making sure Manchester United is the most profitable club in the world. Last year, the Red Devils broke the £500m revenue mark - the first UK club to do so.

So, while Woodward clearly has a place at Manchester United to play, his role as the transfer fixer is always under scrutiny. There have been several transfer windows in which he has allowed targets to slip through his fingers and get away from him.

It also seems that Woodward relies heavily on prominent football agents around the world - asking for their expertise in the market, and using them as consultants to recruit certain players. Mino Raiola has played a big part in that - he currently has four clients at Manchester United, all signed since Mourinho took the job 18 months ago.

While having good relationships with super agents is key to any director's success, an over-reliance can become a problem when you do not have a Plan B or any alternatives. Manchester United have seemingly been sucked into names, rather than profiles - especially under Louis van Gaal - and it has now cost them dearly in playing catch up.

There is a strong argument to put forward for the arrival of a sporting director - to take the responsibility away from Woodward, and allow him to get on with the commercial side of the club. A sporting director would be from a football background where they have key inside knowledge that gives them the upper hand.

At this moment in time, it seems as if Manchester United are always one step behind in the transfer market, but they need to find the gems before they ripen and hold on to them.

A good example of this is Malcom, of Bordeaux. A very talented, wide midfielder, Malcom is going to be worth double what he is today in the short space of a few years. In a similar way to how Anthony Martial was recruited, Manchester United need to start identifying the younger players, instead of paying over the odds for an established star.

While, obviously, you need players with experience, the priority should be on younger, less known players that the club can nurture and coach into world class stars.

Mourinho is clearly not 100% happy with the current situation, but there is a clear way to resolve any issues: sign the players he wants.

Obviously, there are financial valuations that need to be respected, but the Board simply cannot lag any further behind Manchester City as they continue to dominate the transfer market.

This article was written for Soccer Box Liam Canning. You can shop for all the latest and official Manchester United football kit online at Soccer Box with fast worldwide delivery options.