Gary and Phil Neville both “personally recommended” Joao Cancelo to Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, before he moved to Manchester City, according to the Evening Standard‘s James Robson.
The Portuguese international has recently signed a new five and a half year deal that will keep him at the Etihad until 2027, and it seems that City’s rivals had a part to play in him eventually ending up at the Premier League champions:
He was recommended by both Neville brothers – who know a thing or two about the position
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) February 1, 2022
It does show you the difference in terms of the two Manchester club’s attitudes towards player recruitment. At Old Trafford, it seems a board member, who has no experience of football, was ignoring signing recommendations from experienced ex-players.
In contrast, City have a vast scouting network, with a recruitment model based on whether they fit into the club’s style of play and ethos. They have a manager in Pep Guardiola prepared to help and develop players, like Cancelo, who has gone on to thrive after a somewhat difficult start to life in England. The club’s work to scout, sign and improve talented footballers has paid off handsomely in recent years.