Manchester United’s scouting manager Javier Ribalta departs club for Zenit St Petersburg

Manchester United’s scouting manager Javier Ribalta has left the club after just one year in the job.

Ribalta moved from Juventus as part of a overhaul of United’s recruitment network to work alongside chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout 12 months ago.

He has been appointed sporting director at Zenit St Petersburg, where he will work alongside newly-appointed boss Sergei Semak who replaced Italy-bound Roberto Mancini at the helm.

The Spaniard played a key role in identifying Fred and Diogo Dalot as United targets this summer, while the club also bought Lee Grant from Stoke City.

It was hoped that Ribalta would have a similar impact as he did during five years at Juventus where he helped assemble some of the top talent in Europe on a budget, including Paul Pogba’s free transfer from United to Turin.

he was the driving force behind the recruitment of Dani Alves, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro for the Serie A champions.

It’s understood that Ribalta felt he could not turn down the opportunity to take on a more senior role at Zenit, and there has been no fallout with Jose Mourinho or ‘bad reason’ behind his departure.

Ribalta is reported to see the chance to become sporting director at a big European club as a ‘great challenge’.

Before joining Juventus in 2012, Ribalta scouted prospective talent across Europe for Novara and Torino.

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