Another season has ended, and it was another disappointment, to say the least.
Fans rant day in day out, venting out their frustration, most of which is fired at the right target; which is something considering the fickle nature of the United fan base. It can be justified, or maybe not because there comes a point when you just argue against the fans from losing their minds.
A club that is used to Champions League riches, Manchester United has surely come a long way off. In the past 6 seasons since Sir Alex left, Manchester United has only qualified 3 times for the Champions League and Quarter Finals is the farthest they have come.
If someone is interested in just stats, they might not consider this a big issue as United has won 3 trophies (FA Cup, Europa League, EFL Cup) and 2 Community Shields, which is not even considered a silverware in the modern era. That makes it 0.8 trophies per each season. But this is much more than mere stats.
Manchester United’s CEO, Ed Woodward is an investment banker. Now that is where the club is lagging far behind the top clubs in Europe. Sub-par deals have been done and short term measures were applied to just keep the club in the Top 4, which again has been a massive failure. Deals with the production companies and tractors may help them financially but what use is their money if appropriate players are not recruited?
Big money signings include Pogba, Lukaku, and Sanchez, who is the highest-paid player in the Premier League. Sanchez can easily be said to be the worst player to put on the number 7 shirt with just 4 goals in a year and a half.
The financial muscle of United is well known and the stature of the club can still lure big and effective names to come to Old Trafford despite no Champions League this year. Ashley Young at 33 still regularly plays at right back with the Captain’s armband around his arm. Surely this can’t be true but it is, whether you like it or not.
Of all the 3 managers to have managed United after Sir Alex, Jose still has the highest win percentage with 56.8%. The inconsistency shown by the players and the managers can be debated on many levels like not being supported by the CEO and the board in the transfer market hence changes in tactics.
But global football has long been changed; some fans argue that how Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho play their teams is not how a Manchester United team should play. The foundation of the club has always laid emphasis on fast, attacking football with youth given utmost importance.
There were glimpses of the attributes of a typical United side that fans were so used to watching but that was just it, glimpses. United played some brilliant tiki-taka, counter-attacking football during LvG’s first pre-season but the situation changed when the real test began.
As everybody knows, LvG is a master at coaching and has produced dazzling players and promoted a certain Jose to his third assistant while at Barcelona. LvG had won trophies in Spain and Germany and many fans hoped that they might see United back to their glory days because the philosophy he believed in matched with the United ‘attacking football’. But there was something that stopped the biggest names from winning consistently.
This is again one of the most shocking revelations made earlier in the year. You cannot expect a club of this size taking such amateurish decision while giving contracts to the players.
Here is the list of few players earning big money while performing at best at the level of a Championship or League 1 player.
Ashley Young – £100,000-a-week
Phil Jones – £120,000-a-week
Luke Shaw – £195,000-a-week
Jesse Lingard – £100,000-a-week
Barring this season, David De Gea has been the rock for Manchester United for the last 4 seasons. His wage has been the issue for not signing a contract till now. This can also set a dangerous precedent that may cloud any top player’s judgment about the treatment a top tier player receives at the club; because let’s be honest, money does play a crucial role in today’s football market.
Director of Football:
Much has been promised by the club about the appointment of a DoF or a Sporting Director.
According to many media reports, many big names were rejected just because they didn’t know the club much. This is a serious problem which when solved can give United a much-needed balance in their squad. If the latest news is to be believed, Darren Fletcher is the frontrunner to be the so-called Sporting Director whose role is not too much to be excited about. The proposed position would act as a ‘middle man’ between the manager and the board and may not enjoy the same authority as Txiki Begisitain or Paul Mitchell.
The hunt is still on.
Ins and outs:
The fans shouldn’t expect marquee players to sign for United and bring them back to their best in a single season. Solskjaer admitted that the upcoming season will be a rebuilding one and as much as the team would do to do their best, challenging for the title is a little far fetched idea. But obviously, there’s no harm in believing.
Below are the realistic options that should be bought and sold in the transfer window. Other than that, United has to show some spine and back their new manager in trusting his plans for the club.