Manchester United: Looking Ahead

In life you have to be able to look back before you can look forward, I believe the same can be said about Manchester United in the Post Sir Alex era where the focus has been centered at expanding the recruitment modus operandi. On several occasions, Executive Vice Chairman; Ed Woodward has been interviewed on transfer strategy, a lot has been centered on the financial strength of Manchester United and its desire to ensure that the best players in the World play at Old Trafford instead of going to either Real Madrid or Barcelona; two of the teams in a tug of war with the Red Devils in the Financial League table.

There are certain similarities between this summer’s transfer strategy and the approach in Sir Alex’s last season; where there’s been a clear review of why and where the team fell short last season, with it addressed immediately. Like it or not, Manchester United suffered from their inability to put teams away especially at the Old Trafford, where the team struggled for goals against some of the bottom half teams; compare this to the preceding season to Sir Alex’s retirement where the team fell short to Manchester City on goals difference in the race for the league title. Yes, I know people reading this would conclude and mark this down as a bold prediction that Manchester United will win the Premier League next season, why not?

Jose Mourinho and his team have gotten through their transfer business with relative and proactive ease. I say this because Victor Lindelof was announced early into the summer recess, which addressed a potentially injury limiting defense. Now the proactive ease came up with probably the most important jigsaw in United’s Transfer puzzle which involved the signing of Romelu Lukaku, one of the league’s top scorers from last season to address United’s obvious goal shy issues, whilst everyone was focused on United signing Alvaro Moratta. Yes, the United management team may have been negotiating  from last season as we are made to believe, it is the swiftness of getting the news out there despite attempts by Everton to deny that a deal was imminent; this was swift and intuitive from Woodward and his team.

Now Lukaku addresses a major need, getting goals, although this writer was a critic of the signing at the beginning, been a fan it is easy for me to have a change of heart. Now if like 2012/2013; Lukaku is able to deliver the goals like Robin Van Persie did that season, it would be hard to ignore Manchester United as potential favorites for their 21st League title. Its hard to remove United from the equation with a manager like Jose Mourinho at the helm, serial winner everywhere he has been and talks a good, even though some times sore game. Under Jose, Manchester United are progressing nicely; the last two seasons have been trophy winning seasons. Last season, United ended up with three out of five available trophies and are back in the Champions League where they belong. The focus this year is straight forward and specific, win the League first, then maybe have an extended run in the Champions League, which puts the brand firmly back where it believes it should be.

The question going forward is have Manchester United done enough business to be considered title favorites; maybe not. I think the Red Devils are short by one or two more additions, this obviously considering that there maybe a few departures before the window closes. Already, there’s talk of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Matteo Damian may be on their way out, If i had the option of keeping one of the three; Matteo Damian would be my choice to stay. In terms of additions to come through the door, I like the look of Ivan Perisic, had a good season at Inter Milan last time out, has the look of a Mourinho type player, disciplined and hardworking, covers a lot of ground, can create and score goals. The other transfer targets of interest are Eric Dier, Nemanja Matic and Fabinho; for me if given the choice from the three Fabinho would be my overwhelming choice. The reason for this is simple, whilst Mourinho is one that always looks out for Specialists in the transfer market, every team needs someone that can play multiple positions. The Brazilian can play as a defensive midfielder and also excel exceptionally as a right full back; a position where United need to add numbers and valuable experience. You may say Eric Dier too can play both as a defensive midfielder and center back, I will over look him because already, the Red Devils are not lacking in the Central defensive position, there’s a enough talent and personnel in that position already, no point over crowding the squad with center halves. Nemanja Matic’s inability to play in a variety of positions is why, I am not paying attention to all the linking him to United, but truth is he is a really good player in his position and adds very good quality to any team he joins, unfortunately I am just not into him.

If Manchester United are able to conclude the aforementioned transfers with increased opportunities for some returning youngsters like Andreas Pereira, there’s no reason not to consider the Red Devils as one of the top favorites to win the Premier League next season. Jose Mourinho is going into his second season which records show is probably his best season everywhere he has managed (the third season is always the problem). The marriage between Manchester United and Jose Mourinho buds well for the transfer strategy of Ed Woodward which is centered at attracting the best players in the world, this is something Jose is well renowned for. The Club under the guidance of Ed Woodward believes if Manchester United can give Real Madrid and Barcelona a hard time on the financial league table, it should also show its muscle and financial strength in been able to attract the best players from across the world instead of the ending up with these two Spanish Clubs. So Far so good, the Club has shown and flexed its muscles by attracting the best legs whilst coughing out over Six Hundred Million Euros since the change of guard from the Fergie Era. Love it or not, the trophies dried up for only two seasons, the drive to win more is in full effect, the future is bright both from a playing and a financial perspective, definitely the way can only be up for Manchester United.

 

 

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan
http://www.halftimeng.com

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