With Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal being rumoured to be selling long-serving midfielder Darren Fletcher this month, is the Dutch boss ripping the heart and soul from Manchester United?
“It could be that Darren Fletcher might have played his last game for the first team of Manchester United. I’m led to believe that he wants to play first team football. That’s why he wants to leave Manchester United and he wants to carry on playing at the highest level in the Premier League,” said close source James Cooper.
Should Fletcher leave, the Scotland international will end a 20-year association with the club that has seen him win every major trophy under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, while making more than 340 appearances. Such long-serving departures have been commonplace with Van Gaal’s reign at United, however.
Danny Welbeck was surprisingly sold to Arsenal, Patrice Evra joined Juventus, Tom Cleverley was loaned out to Aston Villa, and Rio Ferdinand was released to Queens Park Rangers. Players that have been part of great success in the club, but now disbanded.
Van Gaal has struggled upon his arrival at Old Trafford, with Manchester United having only amassed the same amount of points as they did under predecessor David Moyes last season, and the club’s missing identity has been a particular critique from football pundits.
Under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the squad would always be full of academy talent, and long-serving individuals engrained in his attacking philosophy, but Van Gaal has replaced a lot of players with foreign additions that has seen the side inconsistent in the league so far.
Manchester United do look on course for a top-four finish, but purely down to the failings of sides around them. After 22 games last season, the top-four were all pulling away on tallies of 43 points and above from fourth upwards.
Losing Darren Fletcher will be a big blow, as many feel his career would have ended with the Red Devils under a different manager, with how keen Ferguson and Moyes were to keep the more experienced players in and around the squad during their respective spells in charge.
This summer, Van Gaal brought in six new players, that also saw 10 first-team players exit the club. Such a massive overhaul can have an adverse effect on the players still getting to grips with the change in style, culture, and football. Experienced stars are useful for bedding stars into the club, but such identity is being lost with United following Van Gaal’s movements in the market.
The Lancashire club would prove themselves on their youth policy, and creating a family in the squad, but is the 63-year-old ripping out the heart and soul of Manchester United?