With the curtain coming down on another Premier League campaign last Sunday, one of English football’s top six teams faces a summer of massive upheaval.
Manchester United won two of their last 12 games in all competitions. After that famous Champions League victory in Paris, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team fell to pieces as their season collapsed around them.
Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford in December after United had been handed a 3-1 beating at Anfield, home of their much-improved rivals, Liverpool. That visit to Merseyside was Jose Mourinho’s last venture as Manchester United manager.
Mourinho left his role with United sixth in the Premier League table, eight points behind fifth-placed Arsenal.
Despite Solskjaer’s record-breaking start in charge of the club, United finished the season still in sixth, four points behind Unai Emery’s Gunners.
They did make some memories along the way. That win at PSG is the one that probably stands out the most. However, the home side was very poor in front of goal that night and approached the game with an arrogance that was the rock they perished on in the end.
Good FA Cup wins at Arsenal and Chelsea also gave the fans something to pin their hopes on. Yet, surely now, only the most blinkered United fan would disagree that the problems facing their club need a different solution.
United decided to appoint Solskjaer as their full-time boss and not pursue Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino. That may well be a choice that Ed Woodward and co regret in the coming months, however, that is the situation they are now in. Fans recognise however that not all the blame can lay with the players, and the owners may acquire some experienced fraud solicitors in London next year if more high profile signings fail to perform as they have this term.
There are many problems that need to be looked at in this United dressing-room and Solskjaer has hinted at a clear-out this summer. Paul Pogba’s ‘influence’ leaves a lot of question marks. Do players like Pogba care about United? I mean, really care and want to see the club through their toughest period for almost 30 years?
Who can Solskjaer bring in? Having failed to secure Champions League qualification, and with a relatively unknown manager at the wheel, what top-level players will be looking to make United the next step in their career?
Manchester United are still one of the top-earning clubs in world football, a commercial behemoth compared to many others, so they will still be able to offer the salaries to attract a certain ‘type’ of player. That hasn’t worked for them, though, has it? Think Alexis Sanchez. United will be keen to steer well clear of the Sanchez-type.
United have tried throwing money at their problems for a few years now. It hasn’t worked.
With issues that clearly relate to the behind-the-scenes structure at Old Trafford, the club needs to hold off on flashing the cash around until they hire some people who know best how to spend it.