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Man United's shake-up continues with Wilcox joining as technical director

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe continued his overhaul at Manchester United by appointing Jason Wilcox as technical director on Friday.

Ratcliffe has assumed control of United's failing soccer operations since February when he secured a 25% stake in the storied club.

A new CEO has been hired and a sporting director is also on his wanted list.

Wilcox, who United said would start immediately, is seen as a key appointment ahead of Ratcliffe's first summer transfer window. He has joined from second-division Southampton, where he was the director of football. He was previously the academy director at Manchester City.

"He will work with all technical areas of the football department to achieve the highest standards of performance," United said in a statement.

Wilcox is Ratcliffe's latest hire to have a connection with City.

Former City director Omar Berrada was hired as CEO in January. United said at the time that Berrada was key to its determination to "put football and performance on the pitch back at the heart of everything we do."

Berrada, who was chief football operations officer for City Football Group, previously held a senior role with Barcelona. He has yet to begin work at United.

Wilcox's arrival comes after former football director John Murtough stepped down this month.

United's recruitment record has often been criticized during a period of on-field decline since former manager Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. United has not won the Premier League since then.

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth is also a target for Ratcliffe, the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS who paid $1.3 billion for his minority stake.

Among his other plans for United, Ratcliffe has assembled a task force to look into rebuilding or modernizing the club's iconic Old Trafford stadium.

INEOS director of sport Dave Brailsford and CEO Jean-Claude Blanc have joined the board of the soccer club. Brailsford was credited for his role in the success of British cycling in recent years. Blanc has held prominent positions at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

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