Manchester United are facing their biggest rebuild yet


It is a reflection of mismanagement at Manchester United in the nine years since Alex Ferguson’s retirement that a club have steadily rebuilt in that period this summer requiring them to undergo a major overhaul. Best.

hat United enter an important transfer window it is still unclear who their next manager will be and with doubts over the future and suitability of so many players only solidifying the size of the job in Hand at a club cannot continue to repeat the same mistakes.

After a series of setbacks, no decision is more important than getting the right manager in, and that process is moving fast.

In turn, there needs to be a significant improvement in the quality, profile and character of the players recruited, with a clear identity and cohesive structure in mind.

But, along with that, is the need to completely rethink how United approach selling and moving players.

Roy Keane probably encapsulated the emotions of many angry fans when their former captain suggested that “five or six players” should never play for the club again after a 4-1 loss on Sunday. against rival Manchester City.

However, the success of any rebuilding this summer could depend on the club’s spin and resolution, more so if they miss out on Champions League spots and club revenues. Europe’s top clubs earn and must operate on reduced budgets.

While Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea often act quickly and decisively when it comes to player cuts and purposefully maintain competition and high momentum in the process, United – fear of back-to-back decisions haunts them. – again lacks the backbone, foresight and imagination.

The consequences were dire, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick inheriting a bloated, decaying Frankenstein team, assembled by four different managers and struggling with disillusionment and unrest caused consequences.

Valuable new long-term contracts have been dropped in some cases unworthy (think Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo), early in others (Anthony Martial, Dean Henderson and Eric Bailly) and bridges players continued to stay at rival clubs, avoiding the sentiments that would have long been discarded (e.g. Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic).

Financially, it has cost United dearly, denying them valuable funds to reinvest in the squad and leaving them stuck with overpaid players who no longer have enough. possibility and often leave on a free transfer.

That cannot happen this summer. United, in the end, belatedly, must be ruthless and, although there will be a limit to the number of players they can physically offload and sign in a window, they must be brave and willing to bring a thinner squad next season.

Only four non-academic players have been transferred for profit since Ferguson’s departure – Javier Hernandez, Daley Blind, Chris Smalling and Daniel James – and just eight players whose fees exceed 10 million pounds at that time. .

United desperately needed to free up space on a sky-high salary bill and free up funds that could be used for new signings. The immediate future of 12 players is in doubt, five of whom are out of contract at the end of the season, including Paul Pogba. Others, such as Martial, Henderson, Bailly and Donny van de Beek, can make decent money from sales.

Perhaps the arrival of new chief executive Richard Arnold and greater autonomy given to director of football John Murtough will see United become more assertive and nimble in the market as they sell off players. .

But they still have to be held accountable to the Glazers and the January transfer window once again provides evidence of United’s owners making unrealistic demands that rival clubs simply do. do not want to respond.

Newcastle have refused to bow to United’s demands for a £12m (€14.5m) survival bonus and £2.5m (3m) loan fee for Jesse Lingard. Martial only joined Sevilla on loan after Man United waived the loan fee and the French striker accepted a £200,000-a-week salary cut.

The huge salaries United pay to players is certainly a contributing factor to the club’s struggle to extract worthy fees for players who are no longer in form or favored or have aged. .

There is also generally a reluctance to sell players with a higher reputation, even if they have a worse record or there are signs that their best days are behind them. That was true for Pogba and it was also true for goalkeeper David De Gea, who, before his impressive return this season, fell steadily as he was handed a new four-year contract. in September 2019.

Contrast that with Chelsea’s decision to sell Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for £130 million or Liverpool’s £145 million discount from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho.

Better buys will be essential for United’s next manager. But the club must also stop hoarding players and reinvent the squad with more urgency and precision.

Stay or go? United squad decisions

David De Gea, Tom Heaton
Defender: Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Fred
Striker: Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Marcus Rashford, Amad Diallo

Goalie: Dean Henderson, Lee Grant
Defender: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones
Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira
Striker: Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingar

Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, Alex Telles
Midfielder: Donny van de Beek
Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021] Manchester United are facing their biggest rebuild yet

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