After going out of the Champions League the other night to Barcelona whilst currently sitting outside of the Premier League top four, the questions are being raised on which way Manchester United Football Club are heading. As they look to finish another season without any trophies, it may lead the Glazers and Ed Woodward to dive into the summer window with around £200-£250million to spend.
For sure, since the last time they had won the league title, which was under Sir Alex Ferguson during the 2012-13 campaign, the club have incredibly spent just over £800million on 24 new players over the last six years. The evidence and proof is here, that the capability of splashing the cash is simply there, but the lack of planning and recruiting shows why no actual success has followed from it.
United’s Champions League exit to a dominant and ruthless Barcelona sums up that the team needs badly refreshing. The rebuilding job was expected to be completed by now, with both Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal spending a lot of money in their first season at the club, but have failed to take the team back to the top of the league and have not turned Old Trafford into a fortress once again.
From the defensive problems, midfield lack of quality and depth to the inconsistent and attack, the team has its holes that will need covering before they can start to challenge in each competition. The likes of Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones should no longer be seen as regular starters, three individuals who are seen as loyal servants but are holding the side back to quite an extent.
Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit a poor run of games since being appointed as the permanent manager, where he has suffered defeat to teams such as Arsenal, Everton and Wolves whilst unconvincingly beating both Watford and West Ham in recent weeks. In all honesty, Solskjaer inherited a team that is mixed with deadwood players and individuals with potential, rather than a complete squad that is filled with the needed proven stars and are really hungry to be successful.
With the local reports advising of a possible director of football arriving, whether it is either Edwin Van der Sar or Mike Phelan, the hierarchy need to forget about saving costs and appoint an individual that has experience and practice within this demanding role. Once this matter is sorted out, the club can organise a list of players to target before going guns blazing in the transfer market.
On the other hand, as majority of the Old Trafford faithful will fear, the group of transfer targets as well as which players should be bought and sold may not be crystal clear until the end of the season, when it is finalised if Manchester United finish in the top four or not. A concerning factor that leaves them behind the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City, the best teams within Europe who have the winning mentality to remain ahead of the rest in and out of the season.
Overall, the only way the Red Devils can bounce back from this decline and prevent themselves from experiencing what AC Milan, Inter Milan and Liverpool have experienced over the last five to seven years, is by making a statement in the summer and by meaning total business. With both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid expected to go all out in the 2019 summer transfer window, things may become real interesting if Manchester United do the same and target similar players as one another.