Manchester United have reportedly completed a coup and poached two of Manchester City’s top scouts, according to reports

According to The Daily Telegraph, Manchester United have been looking to improve and reinvigorate their academy set-up by adding both players as well as scouting personnel.

They report that key Manchester City scouts Dave Harrison and Lyndon Tomlinson have been placed on gardening leave at City, and will being their new roles with their bitter rivals on January 1st.

Gardening leave is usually enforced in a situation where an employee leaving a job – having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated – is instructed to stay away from work during their notice period, while still remaining on the payroll.

This practice is often used to prevent employees from taking sensitive information with them when they leave their current employer, especially when they are leaving to join a competitor.

That is exactly what has happened in this situation, and it seems all but confirmed that the duo will join Manchester United in the new year.

Manchester City's Spanish football coach Pep Guardiola poses for photographs outside the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, on July 8, 2016. Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that they have to prove themselves all over again following his arrival at the club. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR "LIVE" SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City’s Spanish football coach Pep Guardiola poses for photographs outside the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, on July 8, 2016.( OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

United have been struggling to regain their dominance over their neighbours, and the signing of Guardiola in the summer represented another big step forward for the Citizens.

According to the Telegraph, Harrison and Tomlinson were instrumental in implementing a framework that hugely improved Manchester City’s scouting network and policies, both domestically and overseas.

They report that this has left many of City’s competitors struggling to keep pace with their scouting program.United themselves have not had much success with their academy of late, with Marcus Rashford the only academy graduate in recent years to show continued signs of promise.

This has led to Ed Woodward initiating an internal review into Manchester United’s youth program, which apparently led them to the conclusion that widespread changes were required.

United’s long-standing head of recruitment, Derek Langley, left the club after 16 years in July, while 5 other big-name scouts including former Ajax scout Henny de Regt have been appointed over the last year.

The report further continues that Nolan Partners, sports headhunters, have been working with United over the last year on a huge, ambitious recruitment drive regarding United’s youth system, and this has already resulted in the appointment of more than 40 staff at academy and first team level.

It is an intriguing to see the battle going on between these two clubs behind the scenes, and it is definitely not the last one that will make the news in the near future.

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