There have been nightmares galore for the average modern Man United fan. It might not as dreadful the relegation of the 70’s, as frustrating as the mid-table mediocrity of the 80’s or as infuriating as the near misses in the CL post 1986 and upto 2013. But, it is a feeling where, one knows United can do better than what they’re doing, all along these 7 years since the master manager retired.
Scars of Summer 2018:
But, no nightmare was as glaring as the summer transfer market of 2018. Manchester United had ‘struggled their way’ (term used by the usual anti-United media) to second. United had 2 summers where they had great transfer market success. Buying for the future, as well as for immediate requirements of then manager Jose Mourinho.
Manchester United had one of the perfect opportunities to build their first title winning squad since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Paul Pogba had a dream run in Russia that year. That market was the perfect time for United to move a notch higher & deliver the title under Jose Mourinho.
But, what United did in the transfer market and the aftermath of that disaster is a well documented story with the eventual result being Jose Mourinho getting sacked in the following December.
United post Mourinho
A sane fan would think United lost their biggest opportunity to complete a rebuild successfully. Personally, I thought United would have to take another 3 years under the new regime before even thinking about a title challenge. That was until COVID-19 hit the world. In the preceding weeks, Manchester United were on a stunning 10 match unbeaten run scoring goals for fun. On the top of the performance charts were new signings Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Daniel James.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s market strategy has been a revelation. He had a clear plan when he was given the reigns permanently in March of 2019. He has United at heart. His strategy wanted the players playing for the club to do the same: Play for badge, be a professional on & off the pitch, Young, vibrant and obviously, footballers of the quality that Man United demands.
The Solskjaer Philosophy
United went along in the model and backed every decision Solskjaer took in summer 2019. Lukaku was sold, Alexis was loaned, both to Inter. Solskajer knew there were major pieces to be built in the United building. But, he was not in a hurry as well. They signed 3 players. Arguably, they should have had one more, if not, two.
But, Solskjaer didn’t whine about it. He carried on like it was business as usual. He gave Mason Greenwood & Brandon Williams enough minutes in the first team. There were tough times in the middle of winter when a tired United squad laboured at times. But, Solskjaer always had one thing in mind, and that, was not to moan about anything in public.
January 2020 & Beyond….
January 2020 and Man United probably made, what could be, one of their most crucial signings at least post SAF. Bruno Fernandes just arrived from Sporting and has made a world of difference to the United attack. He has made United more rounded. Ighalo’s loan move in the last second of the January window was ridiculed at the time by some of our own. But, they have been pleasantly, taken aback by the Nigerian’s capability in front of goal.
All in All, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 5 amazing signings. 5 different signings in characteristics on the pitch. But, every single of those 5 signings have one thing in common: Proud to play for Man United, Want to win for Man United.
For this to continue and for United to be challenging for the title, the board has the perfect man and a perfect plan to execute, what could very well be, Man United’s first title since 2013.