Negotiations Manager leaves Manchester United after seven years
Written by Simon Austin — January 23, 2024
NEGOTIATIONS manager Sam Barnett has left Manchester United after seven years.
Barnett joined the Reds in December 2016 as a Player Accountant, which involved spending a significant proportion of his time on player contracts. His background was in auditing and he arrived from professional services firm EY, where he had worked for two-and-a-half years.
In January 2020, Barnett took on the new role of Football Negotiations Manager, working closely with former Director of Negotiations Matt Judge. United are unusual - perhaps unique - in having a stand-alone negotiations team. This was set up by former Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward and current Football Director John Murtough, in order to formulate and execute transfer strategy and deals.
Judge left the club in April 2022 and his temporary replacement was Tom Keane, the lawyer and brother of Everton defender Michael, when took on the role for four months to September 2022. In July 2023, Matt Hargreaves came in from Adidas, where he was Sports Marketing Director, to become the permanent Director of Negotiations.
His team negotiate contracts with either the buying or selling club, as well as with players and their agents. Image rights often form an important part of these negotiations and data science helps inform financial decisions. At other clubs, the Sporting Director and Head of Recruitment tend to deal with these negotiations at senior level.
Barnett’s primary focus was with the Women’s and Academy teams, although he did also support the first team when required. United put a big emphasis on signing overseas players in the 16 to 21 age bracket before Brexit regulations came into force on December 31st 2020, meaning English clubs could no longer sign foreign players under the age of 18.
Notable examples were Alejandro Garnacho, signed from Atletico Madrid in 2020 at the age of 16; Willy Kambwala, signed from Sochaux in 2020 at 16; and Alvaro Fernandez Carreras, who came in from Real Madrid in 2020 at 17. Garnacho has become a first-team regular, Kambwala made his first-team debut in December and Fernandez Carreras is currently on loan at Benfica.
Garnacho signed a new five-year contract last April.