Manchester United are worried that any director of football appointed by Ed Woodward would be seen as a ‘saviour’ among fans before being ‘annihilated’ if things go badly.
The Red Devils have been looking for someone to fill the role for the best part of a year, with Mike Phelan previously in the frame.
Phelan ultimately became Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant over the summer, with the Norwegian personally pleading with Sir Alex Ferguson’s old No 2 to work under him.
And the Manchester Evening News say United are worried about the expectations that would be placed on any potential candidate’s shoulders.
They are worried that any appointment would act as a ‘lightning rod’ for criticism.
Given United’s plight, the club also believe that they’d be viewed as the one to almost single-handedly turn things around.
And should that fail, they fear any chosen candidate will then be blasted from all corners of the footballing world.
Woodward is understood to have three names in mind for a role, should the Red Devils choose to create one.
Darren Fletcher has spoken about a potential return to the club and was recently spotted at the club’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Rio Ferdinand is also under consideration with Woodward pleased at the measured nature of his criticism while working as a BT pundit.
And club legend Edwin van der Sar has also emerged as a possible incomer but, speaking this week, insisted he had unfinished business at Ajax.
“No, I think I’ve said it before. I want to make this a success at Ajax,” Van der Sar told BT Sport when asked about a potential Old Trafford return.
“You need to build up your qualities and your strengths. I’m trying out a lot of different things here. I still have unfinished business here.
“Maybe if we had taken it one step further last year, I would have been on the step already. I am concentrating on Ajax.”
Woodward provided an update on United’s search for a director of football last month, saying: “Regarding the speculation around a head of football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side.
“Much of the speculation around this type of role focuses purely on recruitment, an area we’ve evolved in recent years.
“As already mentioned, we feel the players that we’ve signed this summer demonstrates that this approach is the right one.”