Tactical Preview of Manchester United 2020-21 Season

The premier league season for Manchester United didn’t start in a way united fans would have wanted with a sluggish home defeat to Crystal Palace. There’s a lot going on around the club considering the incident of Harry McGuire in Greece to the surprise signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax. More signings may be on the way but let’s unveil what’s been happening backdoors in the club’s management. The club has spent millions since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson yet no premier league title to their name after he left. Weak management? Financial crisis? No willingness to spend? Let’s uncover the reality.

“The situation at the club has been subject to widespread public debate over the last seven years, following the promotion of Ed Woodward to the role of Executive Vice Chairman in 2012 as top dog in charge of all club operations following the retirement of David Gill from the role as Chief Executive Officer.  With a CV boasting work at J.P. Morgan & Co. as an investment banker in the Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) Department, Woodward played adviser to Malcolm Glazer during the takeover of Manchester United in 2005, eventually joining the club in a financial planning role. 

Woodward’s ability to secure profitable sponsorship deals was met with several plaudits as the club’s revenue stood at £117.6 million in 2012, compared to £48.7 million in 2005. Despite his undoubted skill in revenue creation for the club, the issue has always been his ability (read willingness) to invest in the club’s on-field endeavors and sort out important transfers in a manner fitting for a club of Manchester United’s stature.

While the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez paved the way for the continued development of Rashford and Anthony Martial, the failure to bring in proper depth options left United in a lurch once either player got injured (their absence contributing to a string of poor results between September and October).

Former United player and captain Gary Neville was quite vocal about the state of affairs in the transfer market, after United managed to complete the transfer of Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day of the winter transfer window.

 “Romelu Lukaku told us a couple of weeks ago that he had said he was going to leave last February or March. That’s nine months to be able to manoeuvre and get into a position to sign a striker for the club for the long term. And yet they have ended up desperately doing one on Deadline Day.

The boy may do very well. He might come in and settle in, he might score goals and do a job for the club. But the fact that the club were in that position, knowing that [Alexis] Sanchez and Lukaku were leaving for many, many months, tells us that Manchester United, at this moment in time, are struggling to navigate through the transfer market smartly.”  United’s recent dealings in the transfer market have been characterized by dragged out sagas (like in the case of Bruno Fernandes, and now, Jadon Sancho) and paying over the odds for player services (more recently the wages of Alexis Sánchez and the transfer fee for Harry Maguire), which has resulted in several failed transfers and has affected the club’s ability to build on progress from seasons past.

The 2020/21 season is shaping up to be a significant season for United, as they look to solidify their place in the top 4 after a series of disappointing seasons. Last season’s 3rd place finish did happen against some odds, as the team weren’t at the races for much of the season. Ideally, getting closer to the league leaders should be the goal for the team this year, as well as adding a new trophy to the cabinet. 

But how possible would that be without Jadon Sancho? Apart from the fact that United need quality depth across all areas of the pitch, Sancho’s addition would give the team a significant boost in terms of quality of the starting XI.

As the deal continues to drag on, it remains to be seen how far United can go this season with what they have, which, speaking honestly, is not enough.” – Via Clarence MacEbong from BTL

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