Forget sentiment, Manchester United have to take emotion away from decisions


MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United walks off after the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on April 13, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

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Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, the Red Devils have been on a sharp decline in performances and reputation in the following years. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all promised to take the club back to where it once was, but fell short, suggesting they did not have the right backing above them or, in all honesty, the job was too big for them to handle.

In comes Solskjaer, a club legend and a manager that has done incredibly well since arriving in late December. While the appointment carried a lot of emotion with it, the board made a decision based upon how much he has improved the feeling around the dressing room as well as what fans see on a week-to-week basis.

Mauricio Pochettino was in the running and firmly on Man United’s shortlist, but Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s chairman, would have done everything within his power to keep him and drag the saga on into the summer transfer window, resulting in the Red Devils being further behind in their plans for the following year than they would have wanted to be.

A decision was made in late March and it is the one fans have to back, no matter if there have been rocky performances so far since giving the Norwegian the full-time reins. It is a miracle that Manchester United are even competing for a top four finish, let alone still in the tie against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

But from this summer onwards, the club have to wake up and smell what is going on around them. At too many times over the last six years have Man United extended players’ contracts because they are afraid of dipping back into the market and starting again, which would show the fans that they had made multiple mistakes.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on April 14, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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For example, signing Ashley Young to a one-year deal running until 2020 did not sit well with the fans, given his lacklustre performances in the side this season. They would much rather see – and the club would benefit from – Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace joining the Red Devils over the summer.

The 21-year-old from South London is likely to cost north of £30 million, but given how impressive his debut season in the Premier League has been, Manchester United would be fools if they were to miss out on an up-and-coming full back that would certainly resolve a few issues in their defence.

There are a number of players – Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Alexis Sanchez and Young – that are out of favour with the United fans, and would be sold if it was up to them.

If Manchester United truly want to reclaim their throne as the champions of England and even Europe, they have to do more than just appoint Solskjaer. Wholesale changes have to be made, no matter the emotion behind it, and fresh blood that is full of quality, hunger and desire has to be brought in.

In a similar way to what their across-town neighbours did, Manchester City bought three brand new full backs in 2018 totalling £125 million. Pep Guardiola sanctioned this revolving door at the Etihad because he knew that is what it takes to become a European juggernaut: ruthlessness.

It is time for the Red Devils to adopt a similar strategy and start climbing their way back up the ladder.

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For as quickly as fans were excited about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘at the wheel’, it appears the wheels are becoming loose and unsteady very quickly.

While Manchester United managed to pull through with a win against West Ham thanks to Paul Pogba’s two penalties, the performance was rather dire. There was a lack of penetration flowing through the team and not one of United’s forwards looked lively enough to take their chances and score.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United walks off after the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on April 13, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

Getty

Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, the Red Devils have been on a sharp decline in performances and reputation in the following years. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all promised to take the club back to where it once was, but fell short, suggesting they did not have the right backing above them or, in all honesty, the job was too big for them to handle.

In comes Solskjaer, a club legend and a manager that has done incredibly well since arriving in late December. While the appointment carried a lot of emotion with it, the board made a decision based upon how much he has improved the feeling around the dressing room as well as what fans see on a week-to-week basis.

Mauricio Pochettino was in the running and firmly on Man United’s shortlist, but Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s chairman, would have done everything within his power to keep him and drag the saga on into the summer transfer window, resulting in the Red Devils being further behind in their plans for the following year than they would have wanted to be.

A decision was made in late March and it is the one fans have to back, no matter if there have been rocky performances so far since giving the Norwegian the full-time reins. It is a miracle that Manchester United are even competing for a top four finish, let alone still in the tie against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

But from this summer onwards, the club have to wake up and smell what is going on around them. At too many times over the last six years have Man United extended players’ contracts because they are afraid of dipping back into the market and starting again, which would show the fans that they had made multiple mistakes.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on April 14, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Getty

For example, signing Ashley Young to a one-year deal running until 2020 did not sit well with the fans, given his lacklustre performances in the side this season. They would much rather see – and the club would benefit from – Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace joining the Red Devils over the summer.

The 21-year-old from South London is likely to cost north of £30 million, but given how impressive his debut season in the Premier League has been, Manchester United would be fools if they were to miss out on an up-and-coming full back that would certainly resolve a few issues in their defence.

There are a number of players – Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Alexis Sanchez and Young – that are out of favour with the United fans, and would be sold if it was up to them.

If Manchester United truly want to reclaim their throne as the champions of England and even Europe, they have to do more than just appoint Solskjaer. Wholesale changes have to be made, no matter the emotion behind it, and fresh blood that is full of quality, hunger and desire has to be brought in.

In a similar way to what their across-town neighbours did, Manchester City bought three brand new full backs in 2018 totalling £125 million. Pep Guardiola sanctioned this revolving door at the Etihad because he knew that is what it takes to become a European juggernaut: ruthlessness.

It is time for the Red Devils to adopt a similar strategy and start climbing their way back up the ladder.



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