Manchester United are set for probably their biggest summer in recent years. But what exactly do the Red Devils need to do return to their former glory? You can bet on the Premier League here.
Manchester City’s effortless 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Manchester derby demonstrated a clear gulf in class between the two teams. The defeat meant United are enduring one of the worst run of form in about half a century. The match also showed one team in an upward trajectory and the other in need of a comprehensive overhaul to get anywhere near the ‘noisy neighbours’.
What do the Red Devils need to do to reclaim that ruthlessness and swagger they had a few years ago which already seems like a century ago. The leaking Old Trafford’s roof was a symbolic representation of how the once perennial title winners have turned to persistent ‘banter club. After that unenviable performance at Goodison Park on Sunday against Everton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reiterated that he was going to be successful at the club and some players won’t be part of that success.
The Red Devils have been in dire straits since Sir Alex Ferguson left the dugout and are now light years behind Europe’s elite. One common factor that has been seen during United’s poor run of form is players not wanting to fight for the badge on the pitch. The likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Ashley Young and David De Gea have received widespread criticism on their performances. The baby-faced assassin, starting this summer must be ruthless in revamping the squad.
Club captain Antonio Valencia, 33, will depart on a free transfer after 10 seasons while Matteo Darmian, who started his first Premier League game since December, is keen to return to Italy. Juventus and Inter Milan are among the clubs interested in signing the defender. Ander Herrera has reportedly agreed to join PSG while Juan Mata could leave for nothing when his contract expires in the summer
Solskjaer must be backed properly executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who has failed terribly in improving the squad in the last five years. Woodward has been the epitome of United’s fall from grace with the club’s poor transfer business and skewed strategy in recent years falling on his shoulders. He must now show the true power of United in the transfer market and support the manager if United are to get back to the top.
The Norwegian has a lot to do and much to prove.
Woodward and Solskjaer have a massive summer ahead of them and they can’t be wrong this time. There will be investments to this squad no doubt and the depths on which they’ve fallen cannot allow any mistakes in the market to continue if they want to challenge for the titles.
This will be the sixth successive season City have finished above United, a clear indication that the balance of power shifted a long time ago.
United should also look to appoint a director of football before the transfer window opens. United have been entertaining the idea of appointing a sporting director, something which notion gained popularity after Jose Mourinho’s dismissal.
Above everything else, the Red Devils should put in place a solid foundation for Solskjaer to succeed in his three-year contract. If the club plays all their cards right, they could close the gap between them and Liverpool and neighbours Manchester City.