It has been a disappointing season for Manchester United, and it seems that’s become the theme for one of the world’s greatest clubs over the past five seasons. For a season that kicked off with so much promise for the team from the red half of Manchester, it would take a miracle for United to finish in the premier league’s top four and qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions league.
It has been a combination of unfortunate circumstances that has put United in the position they find themselves. After a second place finish last season, and reaching the Europa league final, it was expected that with the acquisition of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the club where he made his mark, the team would kick on and mount a title charge.
Expectations were high and fans were beginning to believe it would be the year when the club would return to the top of English football like they have become accustomed to. The season started with fans’ favorite, Ole gunner Solskjaer at the helm of affairs, but smiling Norwegian couldn’t live up to the exploits of last season and was gone by November.
Ralph Rangnick was appointed as interim boss until the end of the season, and tasked with salvaging United’s season, and also oversee the search for a new permanent replacement come season’s end. Fans were once again hopeful there would be a turnaround in fortunes for the club. And though results have improved, United still find themselves fifth on the table, a point behind Arsenal, having played three games more.
There is also the issue of top players wanting to leave the club for lack of playing time, and also a perceived lack of ambition and direction on the part of the club. Paul Pogba, most notably, is out of contract in the summer, and there has been constant speculation over the Frenchman’s future. It’s wildly reported that Pogba is looking to leave for a club where he can have a chance to compete for major trophies having spent the majority of his peak years at United without much to show for it.
Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, and Nemanja Matic are also expected to review their stay at the club in the summer. One thing is for sure: there is a big summer coming for the club with a host of important decisions to be made. We are headed into the summer with way more questions than answers at this point, and we could say the club is at crossroads. And depending on how good the club handles their present predicament’ would determine the direction the club is headed.
There have been widespread reports that Ajax manager, Erik Ten Hag, and PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino, are the favorite contenders for the United job. Fans obviously favor the Ajax boss who has a reputation as one of Europe’s top rising coaches. Ten Hag has been hugely successful during his time at the Dutch club. His team play fast entertaining football and he has a track record of giving young players a chance which fits with the way United have always wanted the team to operate.
With or without Champions league football, United never struggled to attract top players; but there have been a lack of thought process and a clear direction with their recruitment over the past few years, and it is an area they need to put right if they are to compete for the biggest prices in football again.
We can definitely say this is one of the most important moments in the history of this great club, and the questions that need to be answered are: can United qualify for the champions league next season? Who will be the club’s next manager? Will Ronaldo stay? Will Pogba renew his contract or leave? It is paramount the club gets most of these issues sorted properly if they are to compete again. And i guess we would find out in the summer what is next for Manchester United.