Liverpool – Champions of Europe – 2019. Liverpool – Champions of England – 2020.
Manchester United – Champions of Europe – 2008. Manchester United – Champions of England – 2013.
Those statements are damning on a club who are one of the biggest clubs in the world. United claim to have 659 million via Kantar – a market research company who assessed the clubs worldwide reach. To have their main rivals overtake them in such dramatic fashion is deeply concerning.
Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be an incredibly difficult task as I and my others would acknowledge. Journalist Mark Ogden broke the story that Sir Alex was retiring in 2013 and since then he can’t believe just how the club have stumbled from year to year without ever looking like seriously challenging for the games biggest honours. Listen to Mark discuss the post Fergie years on CFB here – https://anchor.fm/footballcfb/episodes/Manchester-United-The-post-Sir-Alex-years-with—-Mark-Ogden-earrqt
The main concern many have for United including myself is the lack of concern that the hierarchy seem to have when watching the clubs biggest rivals – Man City and Liverpool – win the games biggest honours while United battle for ‘top 4’.
A club the size of Manchester United should never be content with just qualifying for champions league as in my view what’s the point of seeing qualification as a massive step forward if you have no chance or no real desire to compete and win it.
For me to compete at the highest level United need to address three key positions in their starting 11 as well as improve the strength and depth in the squad as a whole. The positions that concern me at this moment in time are centre half, left back and right midfield.
Firstly, a centre half is badly needed at the club as Harry Maguire needs a centre back partner with pace and composure on the ball to aid United in building from the back. Two players that would fit the bill for me would be Alessio Romagnoli of AC Milan or Nathan Akè of Bournemouth we both players are left footed, comfortable on the ball and would compliment Maguire far more than Lindelof does at this moment in time.
Next up has to be a left back with pace and the courage to reach the byline and hit crosses for Martial and the clubs other forward players. Luke Shaw can still be a good squad player but for me United can’t challenge with him starting week in week out as he isn’t great with one to one battles and he just doesn’t have the pace required to be an elite fullback.
I recently interviewed Portuguese football expert Aaron Barton and he revealed that Porto may need to sell a few players at a reduced rate to raise finance due to the impact of the current pandemic. With that in mind I’d be placing a bid for Alex Telles. A Brazilian left back in his peak years with pace and ability to match he’d be a definite upgrade on Shaw.
Last but by no means least, United simply have to address the right hand side of midfield and there can only be one man to fill that void: Jadon Sancho. Explosive pace and trickery, an eye for goal and a regular assist maker he would make this United side instantly improve and he simply has to be the priority for the club in this summer transfer window because if United want to compete again at the top level then signing players like Sancho, Telles and Romagnoli has to be the standard of player that Olè and his staff are targeting.
The club doesn’t have time for another Maguire or Bruno type saga. The time to act is now and failure to do so at all this summer would be nothing short of the board being criminally negligent in relation to the future of the club.