Javier Ribalta joined Manchester United as our chief scout last summer from Juventus. Considering the job he had done at the Italian club, thanks to extensive contacts in Spain and South America and excellent knowledge of clauses and contracts of players at other clubs, United were delighted to bring in a professional with such a wealth of expertise.

Dani Alves signed a new two-year contract at Barcelona in 2015 but Juventus took advantage of a break clause to sign the Brazilian on a free, with Sami Khedira also joining for free from Real Madrid. He also helped Juve sign Kingsley Coman, Pol Lirola, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro.

Fred and Diogo Dalot were just two players on Jose Mourinho’s list of potential signings that were fed to him by Ribalta.

However, reports claim that just a year later he has left the club to become Zenit’s new sporting director. This was supposed to see the summer where we saw his hard work behind the scenes pay off. United may well still have some transfer business up their sleeves, guided by Ribalta, but Juve’s secret weapon never managed to have the same impact at United.

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