Football management is a topsy-turvy ride that encompasses every possible emotion and it isn’t for the feint hearted. It’s even worse if you happen to be a former Manchester United favourite like Ole Solskjaer, who has inherited the hot seat and has been given the dubious task of managing the unimaginable and unrealistic expectations of a global fan base.
Since Ferguson retired, United have misfired, only briefly managing to mislead its fans under Mourinho into thinking that a recovery was on, when it wasn’t.
The trophies that followed papered over the cracks, the Mourinho factor achieved the rest but their are fundamental flaws in the side including a group of players that shouldn’t be there, that have underperformed and that should be jettisoned as quickly as possible in the summer.
United’s start to the season had quite a few pundits even banking on their possible inability to feature in the Europa league with United being closer in terms of points to the relegation zone than to leaders Liverpool. This led to various bookies around the world including this online casino offering incredible opening offers from various partners for new users interested in taking a chance on these odds.
Shaw, Lukaku, Sanchez, Pogba, Mata, Bailey, Lingard, Chong, Hernandez, Lindelof, Jones, Romero, and Young are all surplus to requirements in my opinion and their indifferent performances aren’t exactly going to reinstate United at the pinnacle of World football.
They won’t all go of course, not in a single window but if you could undo a succession of chronic purchases, these names would be on the list.
The size of Solskjaer’s task is Herculean and will require infinite patience and investment to bring United back to the big time. The side is like a dusty old canvass that has been left to deteriorate in a damp attic. It’s a job that will require delicate hands and sensitive restoration before it hangs proudly once more but, there is so much to do.
Paul Pogba will undermine any side Ole Solskjaer cares to create because of his selfish nature and gargantuan ego.
Yes, when he plays, one can marvel at the obvious talent but, it’s as and when he deems fit to showcase those skills that irks the most. He’s happy to display them against a top European side when he decides but, during a wet mid-weeker against Brighton or Southampton, he seems less inclined to earn his wages.
The fact that he considers himself too good for the current side would be an excuse enough to let him run into the open arms of Zinedine Zidane.
Zidane has been shamelessly wooing the player for months and short of serenading him beneath his balcony window or throwing flowers at his feet, the Real Madrid manager, who left for a new challenge, didn’t find one and was begged to come back, would sell players to make room for Pogba.
It’s a love-in of mutual admiration and self indulgence. One which features unnecessary amounts of hearty back slapping and nauseous praise of how they richly deserve each other.
The surprise for many, may be my suggestion that Lingard is surplus to requirements. He is someone that I see as a squad player at best. He just doesn’t deliver regularly and is outshone by Marcus Rashford in every respect.
I still have reservations about Rashford, who is inconsistent on occasion, yet he sparkles in a United side that displays so many rough edges and broken parts that any type of performance becomes standout, even if it’s for desire, enthusiasm and effort.
Since Gareth Southgate created a young inspirational and energetic England side, we have all become slightly smug and believe that the majority of young England players are world class but, it may be that we are seeing what we want to see or that we are buying into a media myth.
That could translate to the likes of Shaw, Smalling, Rashford and Lingard but, Ole Solskjaer has much bigger fishes to throw out of the boat including the unproductive Alexis Sanchez, the impressive catch that proved to be something of a kipper and the cumbersome Lukaku, who would make a great linebacker in the land of gum and popcorn.
Lukaku surely is a poor man’s Drogba, who at times appears as if his boots are still in their boxes. He occasionally displays subtle touches that don’t fit the image, like a burly, hairy builder pulling off a perfect pirouette just minutes before landing face first down in the wet cement.
Ole Solskjaer is reported to have a war chest of over £200m and he will need every penny of that and what ever he can claw back from his outgoings to reinvent the spine of his team.
Ole will need the advice of Ferguson, Phelan and the scouts to piece this broken giant back together and will be keen to avoid anymore costly mistakes which have brought United to this point such as Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, and Depay.
As I’ve said before, only United can make such dizzy financial purchases and still survive. Other clubs would be on the brink of bankruptcy or teetering in the relegation zone but, the Manchester club has reserves on top of it’s reserves and simply carries on regardless.
Does Ole Solskjaer have the experience for the task at hand ?
No, clearly not but, he has the uncompromising support of everyone around him and that should steer him through. He will no doubt have been told to cut the squad and that part is relatively easy compared to finding those that will restore United to their rightful place.