Manchester United Are Better Off Than You May Think
(Photo from news.yahoo.com)
This may sound like one of the most insane statements given the timing of it, but Manchester United really aren’t as bad as you may think.
Sure, the on-field performances and results haven’t been remotely promising in recent weeks, but fans and pundits everywhere have become far too wrapped up in what Manchester United ‘should’ or ‘used’ to be, instead of accepting them for what they are and what they need to do to get back to those romantic days of the 90s and 00s.
2019’s iteration of the Red Devils lacks identity, direction, and clear quality. That isn’t news to anyone. And, the appointment of Ole Gunar Solskjaer may not be entirely inspiring to said fans and pundits, but it’s an appointment that needs to happen and be stuck with.
For many years, dating all the way back to Man Utd’s last Champions League final appearance under Sir Alex Ferguson, the squad in the red half of Manchester has been lacklustre to say the least. Bang average players in every position through the depth chart of the team, with a star player or two (Van Persie and Rooney) papering over the obvious pre-existing cracks.
We’ve now come to a point where the team set up is similar, but without the majesty of one of the greatest managers of all time. This is why the squad clear out Ole has started must be lived through, and not cut short prematurely. Players like Darmian, Fellaini, Valencia, Lukaku, Herrera, Alexis (loan), and Smalling (loan) have all departed, with most of them being replaced by academy graduates and Maguire and Wan-Bissaka.
The squad overhaul is well underway, and a re-formation of the identity of the club has to as well be overhauled. The club needs at least another 3 years of developing those academy graduates, clearing out the older and less useful players, and re-shaping a play style that allows for them to challenge for the league once again.
It’s bad now – for sure it is. With each game, Manchester United’s fans feel further and further away from those glory days and fall deeper into a state of confusion and despair. But, football, like everything, is cyclical. It’s time for Manchester United to step back, re-calibrate, re-organize, and re-strategize. They are on the right path now, and the club requires patience now more than ever. Solskjaer has started this process, and he must be allowed to go through with his project. It’s the first time any of the managers since SAF has had a long-term vision of the club instead of a “win now” mentality.
It may not be for a while, but Manchester United will be back.