Manchester United Football Club is considered one of the elite football clubs in the world. It is generally considered a part of the big 3 of Europe’s giants, the other two being Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are the only English club to have won a treble and the first to have won every trophy they have ever competed for in England.
But over the past decade, they have declined massively as a footballing powerhouse. As they head to the end of what is likely to be a fifth straight season without a trophy, barring a miraculous UCL victory, we take a look at the current state of the club and what they could do to improve in the immediate future.
Man United Post Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 12/13 Premier League season, having just won his 13th PL title. And in his wake, he left a massive hole in the club. There were several problems and United were extremely unequipped to deal with his retirement. A good replacement wasn’t available, even temporarily, the squad was ageing with most players past their prime, and since Sir Alex had handled almost all duties, essentially being a Director of Football as well as the manager, Ed Woodward was inexperienced for his role.
United appointed David Moyes for the 13/14 season, but it was soon clear that Moyes was incapable of the step-up. He was sacked just seven months into his appointment. Van Gaal was appointed the next season. He finished a respectable 4th in his first season and 5th in his second, along with having won the FA Cup. But the fans and the club found his style to be undesirable and his signings useless. He too was sacked at the end of his second season.
United then appointed Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the Europa League in his first season. That was the last trophy Man United won. Since then, a season and a half later, Mourinho was sacked and Ole Solskjaer brought in. Solskjaer played attractive football and made a team that could now compete with the best. But his inexperience as a manager cost him and almost 3 seasons later, he was sacked.
The Current Scenario.
Manchester United is currently being managed by Ralf Ragnick on an interim basis. They have a star-studded squad led by Cristiano Ronaldo himself. However, they just lost to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and drew to Burnley recently. Though in both games, Manchester United should have won comfortably. They created an innumerable number of chances but just didn’t finish them. And it seems like the God of Luck is also not on their side with many decisions going against them.
Clearly, all is not well in the club. They do play attractive football but aren’t good enough to be consistent. It seems Ralf Ragnick is similar to Marcelo Bielsa, in that his footballing style inspired many a great manager, but he himself is not capable of being that great. Unless Manchester United miraculously win the Champions League, which is not entirely impossible given the way Ronaldo has performed in the competition, but still seems unlikely, they are looking at a fifth straight season without a trophy. Possibly even without Champions League football, if they don’t pick up their performances in the PL.
What Man United can do to improve.
There are several things Manchester United could do to improve quickly and re-establish their status as a giant in European football.
- Sign Either Erik Ten Hag or Mauricio Pochettino – United need a new manager next season. Ragnick will not cut it as a manager for the club. While there are several good candidates, their best bets are Poch and Ten Hag. Pochettino is known to have wanted the United job for a long time and has the PL experience to back his CV. However, he doesn’t have the best of records with winning trophies. Ten Hag is the favoured option by the fans. He plays attractive football and built two amazing teams with a relatively low budget. Since this United team is young, he can do what he did at Ajax over here too.
- Sell Cristiano Ronaldo – While Ronaldo’s return has been great for the club, which his performances and stats can vouch for, he was clearly not in the plans of the club and brought only to prevent him from going to Man City. Zidane is looking likely to take up the PSG role next season and is rumoured to want CR7 to complete the dream duo of Messi and Ronaldo in one team. United should give him away if the opportunity arises. They could make a good profit from it and get him off the wage books. It will also allow them to get back on track with building the squad they wanted.
- Sign a defensive midfielder – United desperately need a number 6. Fred and Mctominay are not suitable for that role and Matic is too old.
- Let Pogba go – Pogba has been a big problem at United. While he plays brilliantly sometimes, he also plays awfully other times and is injured frequently. United might miss the man, it is in the best interest of both parties to let the Frenchman go.
- Trim the squad – United have a bloated squad with unhappy players. Even after sending a huge number of players on loan, they still have an excess of players in the first team. They need to sell many of them this summer. It will allow the new manager to sign any players they want to and not have to worry about game time for everyone.
What are your thoughts? How could Man United improve? Comment and share.