IF ONLY Ed Woodward could look at Mino Raiola and press CTRL - ALT - DE LIGT.
This money-mad agent has only recently acquired the world’s most wanted teenager, Matthijs de Ligt. Shame, that.
Manchester United are in for him on Raiola’s say-so, given a sniff of signing the Ajax defender from under the noses of Barcelona and Juventus.
He is running rings around the Red Devils’ executive vice-chairman Woodward again.
At 19, De Ligt has sidelined original agent Barry Hulshoff in favour of this brazen, abrasive transfer broker.
With Barca, Juve and United in a three-way battle for the Ajax captain, they are fodder for a man with Raiola’s skills in this area.
Only Raiola and De Ligt know which way the defender will turn next.
Woodward, under severe pressure to put things right by owners the Glazers, has no choice but to take his call.
It is a truly sad day for the sport when Raiola continues to shape and influence the modern Manchester United.
Raiola, agent to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, has a chequered history at Old Trafford down the years.
He exposed Woodward’s lamentable negotiating skills, emptying his pockets with the promise of a string of world beaters. Ibrahimovic, his United career cruelly cut short through injury, is the only success.
Mkhitaryan, another signed on Jose Mourinho’s watch, left for Arsenal after just 18 months.
Lukaku, 12 goals in the Premier League last season, is determined to move to Inter Milan after two poor years in a United shirt.
Pogba, re-signed for £89m by Mourinho, remains an enigma.
It was Pogba’s move, first time around, when Raiola gained notoriety in the corridors of power at Old Trafford to the extent that an exasperated Sir Alex Ferguson described him as a “s***bag”.
He gets where water can’t, turning up in the offices of managers, presidents, chief executives and chairmen, with some of the world’s best footballers in his backpocket. Raiola has added De Ligt to his roster, acquiring him from the man who helped shape this classy centre-half’s early career.
Hulshoff is a former Ajax player, a man ingrained in the ideology of Rinus Michels after winning the European Cup three times in the 1970s.
He could only take his career so far.
DE PICK OF THE BUNCH
De Ligt’s star is rising, confirmed by his assured and accomplished performances against Real Madrid, Juve and Tottenham in the Champions League.
Nothing intimidates him, nothing fazes him.
In many ways it makes him a perfect fit for Raiola’s stable but there is something alarming in the game when a young player is so quick to make a decision like this.
Woodward, for one, has never got to grips with him.
United have to show willing, to declare their hand as De Ligt prepares to make his pick of the top clubs.
He will be on his way soon enough, guided by the hand of one of the most controversial agents in the history of the sport.
As ever, Raiola will follow the money.