It is no secret that Manchester United have lost their powerhouse status in recent seasons. Against Paris St Germain in the Champions League this season, United were totally written off without a prayer. Something that never would have happened in the heydays of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The comeback was amazing but the subsequent meek loss to Barcelona showed it was just a rare occurrence.
The last couple of seasons have been a slow but steady descent towards mediocrity. Jose Mourinho steadied the ship a bit by winning the Europa League and a domestic cup but that only papered over the cracks that have been apparent since Fergie left.
Here is a suggested list of 3 things Ole must do to get Man United back on track.
Clear out the deadwood in Defence:
Manchester United have started by letting go of Antonio Valencia who has been a stalwart for many years but others still remain.
For a club with huge revenue, a 33-year-old winger cum right back in Ashley Young is embarrassing. Matteo Darmian, Marcus Rojo and to some extent Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones have not quite convinced at the top level.
Perhaps a couple of defenders could be kept but at least 3 out of 5 should be shown the exit to ease the wage budget. Transfer funds can be reinvested into buying one young quality centre back. (Perhaps De Ligt, yeah?)
Playing the Manchester United way:
This mantra must stop. There never was a particular United way. Fergie played to the strengths of his team and the weaknesses of the opponent.
Ole has to show tactical awareness by defining clearly his own game plan and bedding the players to it. Whether it be a counter attack or possession based game or a combination of both.
It has to be a gameplan from the present manager and not from Sir Alex’s era. Manchester United must stop living in the past and evolve. Something Sir Alex Ferguson managed to do for so many successful years.
Getting in a Director:
Times are changing and United must up their game. United signings have been terrible in recent years with no planning involved. Fred and Sanchez are prime examples of wasting huge outlays on flops.
A director will not automatically guarantee transfer success but a pattern in the recruitment system of the club could at least be fashioned out and followed.
An astute football director can be a game changer for any club. Steve Walsh when he was at Leicester, Edwin Van Der Sar at Ajax and the new name being linked with United, Norwich’s Stuart Webber who did a fine job at Huddersfield and now Norwich.
The scouting department needs to be revamped too. Past managers have complained about it.
It is going to be a long hard job and there are reservations as to whether Ole is the right man for the job but these issues must be resolved one way or another. Only then can Manchester United fans see their team competing for the title again…. Or else, United will become just another club living on past glory.