It’s safe to say that Manchester United are in limbo. The Red Devils find themselves in an unfamiliar spot historically, but one which has sadly become familiar in recent years. They are set to miss next season’s Champions League, and with no potential trophies to look forward to this season. Where do Manchester United go from here?
Wherever they go, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the man who will lead the way. The former United favorite was appointed as caretaker boss in December. He swiftly assumed the role permanently after some encouraging results headlined by that famous night in Paris. The hierarchy at Old Trafford awarded him a three-year contract as a result. But all has not gone to plan for the ‘baby-faced assassin’.
United’s poor league form and meek Champions League exit has raised doubts over his appointment. That being said, he is not the sole person to blame. United have dug themselves into a hole since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, and any erosion into that on Solskjaer’s part is minimal. Poor signings, astronomical wages, and disagreements in the boardroom have been responsible for the same.
Take this example. Alexis Sanchez is earning £350,000-per-week this season, but he has managed just one goal in the Premier League. The Chilean has been an impotent use of resources which has hindered the club’s development. Aside from Sanchez, there are numerous red marks in the squad about whom decisions have to be made. Veterans who are declining to stars who are not performing; Solskjaer has some big decisions to make.
Paul Pogba and David De Gea are two such stars whose future is in doubt. De Gea’s contract expires next summer, and United won’t want to let him go on a free transfer. Despite the Spaniard’s continued excellence, his levels have dropped significantly this season. As for Pogba, the inconsistency has been a major issue. No one doubts his talent, but the Frenchman has not been a reliable performer this season. (Yes PFA, you shouldn’t have put him in that team!)
Solskjaer also needs signings to spruce up his squad. The defense will be the primary area for improvement, as they have let in goals in excess this season. Recruitment in midfield are also necessary, as the likes of Fred have not been up to the mark. Ander Herrera’s departure will further increase the need in that aspect.
In his summer assignment, Solskjaer will have Mike Phelan at his side. Phelan was officially given the assistant manager role this week. The inputs of people like Michael Carrick will also be invaluable. But despite that, Solskjaer will be calling the shots, and the onus will be on him to improve the condition at Old Trafford.
Neighbors City have impressed again, and the other members of the ‘top 6’ are in European finals. United have fallen, and their fans know it. They need to see their club back where it resided for so long. Solskjaer is the man for it now, but can he do it? Only time will tell.