Manchester United have without a doubt suffered a huge downfall over the last six years, where they have failed to challenge for the Champions League and Premier League effectively in that time. On top of that, the ongoing problems on and off the pitch have been clear for quite some time now, which could not be fixed or solved by the likes of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
A lot of managers and players have come in throughout the last couple of seasons or so, however, not many of the deadwood individuals have actually been shipped out of the club since the departure and retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. From then till now, players such as Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones continue to play regularly for the team despite not being good enough.
Each one of the coaches have had their good and bad moments at Old Trafford, but have not been able to match the club’s style of play as well as produce the consistent results that you expect from a big club like Manchester United. Also, the same goes for the big signings that have come through, who have not been able to rally the side on or create the big moments that were badly needed.
Now, it’s time to focus back on the old guard and to why the board and Ed Woodward should be blamed for the situation the club are currently in at this moment of time. Many still remember the days of when Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young were the side’s main starters at full-back, two players who used to play as wingers week in and out but used in a position they are not experts in.
Thanks to the arrival of Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw being more injury-free this season, it has led Valencia to only play in the league on five occasions as he is expected to leave in the summer on a free transfer. Meanwhile, Young has been playing a lot this season either at left-back or right-back, where he is a defensive liability and is a huge burden in terms of progressing forward with the ball.
And in the heart of defence, both Jones and Smalling have played too many games than necessary in a United jersey, where they have committed constant mistakes whilst not showing enough intelligence and quality on the ball. Victor Lindelof has been at the club for nearly two seasons, and is already proving to be the side’s best defender, summing up the severe problems in defence.
Once upon a time, Jones and Smalling were brought into to be the long-term replacement for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but have been unable to reach the top tier level that many of the football experts had predicted them to reach for both club and country. Fast forward the clock, the English duo have spent more than seven seasons at the club and are yet to show consistent displays.
Potentially, United may have to take a page out of Pep Guardiola’s book in his second campaign at Manchester City, where the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager got rid of individuals such as Aleksandar Kolarov, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta, players who were no longer crucial or useful enough despite spending a number of years at the Etihad stadium.
The club may feel they will miss out on the experience and leadership of the old guard, on the other hand, the hungry and younger player will strive on the opportunity of playing regular football and also in their natural position. Not only that, it will allow the side’s style of play to be more fluid and unpredictable, as it currently looks to be limited and lethargic through the middle and the flanks.
Overall, the Old Trafford faithful will be hoping that the hierarchy are bitterly seeing the rivals in Liverpool and Manchester City challenge for the league whilst United are sat in sixth-place and are attempting to finish in the top four to save their season. If the people in charge truly care about the club, they would be making their plans for the summer window, including on how to get rid of the deadwood.