The new Premier League season is still a good few weeks away and while the main story may be that it’ll be interrupted as a result of the winter World Cup, we’d argue a story that’s almost as notable is the one that’s set to unfold at Old Trafford.
Manchester United barely managed to make their way into the Europa League last season as a result of teams around them not really doing a whole lot to put in a sustainable challenge. At the same time, the gravity of their disappointing season wasn’t exactly lost on the fans – as well as the pundits.
As an institution, Manchester United Football Club is commercially recognised as one of the biggest teams in the world. In terms of the silverware they’ve accumulated that’s also true, but that kind of allure can only last for so long, and their most recent campaign exemplifies that.
Even with a whole host of big names coming into the first team squad, they just can’t help but fall short at near enough every available opportunity. So, in order to inject some life into proceedings, Erik ten Hag has been hired as the new man to take over.
The Ajax star is the latest gaffer in a long line to try and steady the ship that’s been floating around endlessly since Sir Alex Ferguson left almost a decade ago.
He has a nice style of how he wants his team to play but if he wants to get the best out of this club, this institution, he’ll need to find a way to get them playing as a cohesive unit.
That means weeding out the weak and as harsh as that may sound, he really does need to get on with it sooner rather than later.
It’s all well and good saying that he needs to bring in more players and while we agree, that’s somewhat true, he also has to be realistic about what he wants to achieve.
This is going to be a process that lasts a couple of years and the youth movement needs to be reintroduced as a vital piece of the puzzle. Instead of thinking Cristiano Ronaldo is going to get them out of every sticky spot they’re in, they need to look at Carrington as a place largely designed to bring through another class of youngsters that can vault them back into contention.
Financially speaking, at the very least, that probably isn’t going to go down all too well, but sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and realise the current operation needs to be changed from top to bottom.
A full system reboot is in order and if that isn’t going to happen, ten Hag may as well prepare for a swift exit, because this is all about patience.
He knows the scale of what’s happening at United and he knows how quickly the likes of City, Chelsea and Liverpool are getting away from them.
Build slowly, and the good times will return. Build quickly, and there’s not enough talent in the world to overcome the lack of chemistry.