Last night saw a blue moon rise once more in Manchester after Pep Guardiola’s City took the spoils back to the Etihad.
In a game which was vital for both sides, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United were competitive it could be said but not really enough to land as much as a glove on the Champions.
Heading into the derby United were on a run of six losses in eight, far from what is expected from the most successful club in England to date. With various factors to take into consideration it was hard to tell which United side were going to turn up. In fairness though, they tried to make it at least a respectable contest and after they were hammered by one half of Merseyside Sunday – losing 4-0 at Everton – the other half were hoping they’d respond emphatically. Unfortunately, the difference in class between the two Manchester sides was there for all to see, City having been far from their best, still left with a 2-0 win.
Whether it be due to players not wanting to play for the badge on the shirt or the fact they are just not of the standard required it appears vast changes are needed for United moving forward. Solskjær’s reign in the hotseat at Old Trafford initially got off to a flyer with the Red Devils looking untouchable. However, ever since his appointment was made permanent, the wheel most definitely looks to have fallen because his side are steering out of control.
It has to be said though, the Norwegian is certainly not going to allow any of his players to hide this summer. Earlier this week he stated that his players need a “reality check” after a dismal run of form to say the least. Already in his reign we have seen that he is prepared to offer youth a chance to impress and his players don’t buck up, he could potentially be forced to revert to youth full time.
Realistically, a lot of fans and neutral’s around the world will be expecting a complete overhaul of players and rightly so. However, the expectations of who may be recruited may have to be adjusted. United are a side that are looking likely to have no Champions League football to offer and they have quite frankly lost their identity at present. Something Solskjær will be hoping to restore quickly.
In terms of recruitment though, United may be in a hole. With no place amongst Europe’s elite looking close to confirmed, it could be a case of over paying much like we have seen in recent times. A hefty £75m fee for Romelu Lukaku springs to mind. The issue with that is, if you are trying to pretty much the core of new squad, Ed Woodward could find himself with a major task. It could be argued that clubs will look to jump on United’s predicament and bump up prices, meaning the prices may quickly add up. It could easily get to the point where £300m has been spent on bringing in three of four quality players. What then has to be considered is financial fair play. Having said that mind United to bring in substantial revenue.
Maintaining the club’s way
One thing that most thing that most fans don’t consider when suggesting an overhaul in personnel is the fact that you need players who understand the club. It’s completely fine to suggest that players don’t deserve to wear the shirt, but this isn’t Fifa. Keeping that United passion is critical. The chances are most of the signings that maybe looked at could be from foreign leagues. Therefore, players that aren’t quite adapted to the tradition of the club, something that would take time.
Players such as Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and more may not necessarily have the ability to match the calibre of the club but they do offer that experience within United. Let’s get it right, none of these players go out to get beat, they aren’t deliberately letting the fans down. Unfortunately, they just aren’t of the standard to be playing week in week out for the club.
Experience is key though and they offer a lot. These are players that have played in the division for years. Should an over haul be implanted players like young, current captain of the club will still be critical. Whether Solskjær decides to invest heavily or bring through youth he will need that help getting his fresh faces settled.
Winning back the dressing room
In recent times, it has been suggested that there are players within United’s camp that are running more that the bath. Solskjær needs to get rid of the bad influences and bring back control. It is suggested that maybe players like Paul Pogba and David De Gea are unsettled.
Far from it conclusive but performances have certainly dipped as of late. Uncharacteristically, De Gea in truth has been far from his best. It was evident in last night’s derby.
Solskjær needs to quickly reunite the dressing room and make it an attractive prospect for the future. At the moment from the outside looking in, it looks far from ideal. Speaking personally if I was angling for a move just based on the morale in camp, Manchester United and Chelsea would be at the bottom of my list looking at the current top six. Not because they aren’t great clubs but because the other four seem to be a lot more settled and the players look happier.
All in all, there is a lot to consider before United can just go brandishing cash hoping for an instant fix. There is a lot going wrong at the moment for the club and things need to be looked at thoroughly.
Jadon Sancho, Gareth Bale, Antoine Griezmann amongst others, they’ve all been linked but can United lure these kind of players at the present time?
You’d have to say yes because of the club’s stature but it certainly won’t be plain sailing if they do.