Are we ready to make the next step?

andersj

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After several years of walking through a dessert blindfolded we could be at the cusp of making it back.

By back, I do not mean being the dominant force we used to be. I’m not sure that is possible for any team. But the starting elleven is starting to look very good - even compared to the best teams in the world! I have not felt that way about our team for a long time. Not since Ferguson. We are still not there yet though and this summer and the next one feels very «make it or break it».

The way Greenwood has looked for us the last few games, we are already in a stronger position than before the break. Rashford, Martial and Greenwood is an exciting attack. With the talent and flexibility of these players adding one attacker could give give us depth. We would have gone from being a player short at the beginning of this season to having competition in attack again.

The most important challenge in the market will be replacing the players who is surplus due to lack of quality or inconsistency. Our squad is big and we have a lot of deadwood. That might give us an opportunity going forward. Not including the attack, where we need to spend, we should be able raise most of the funds we need to strengthen our team from selling deadwood.

- Sell/remove Smalling, Rojo and Bailly. Replace them with one central defender that is ready to challenge Lindelof.

- Sell/remove Lingard/Pereira. Bring in a player who can challenge Fernandes and Pogba.

- Sell Dalot. Bring in a new left back.

If we do this properly the remaining issues in our squad will be;

- Keeping Pogba,
- Replacing Matic,
- de Gea vs Henderson,
- Consider if Martial is good enough,

Beside the Pogba situation, all of these four issues can wait to 2021 in my opinion. After several years of struggle this feels like a good position to be in. The question is, can we take advantage and make it to the next level?

Looking back on our actions in the transfer market the past year I feel a bit mixed. All in all, we have done a good job getting rid of players and have made two or three important signings. At the same time, we look so slow in the market and it makes you question if we will be able to do what it takes to push us back over the next year or so. There is also the whole Covid thing making everything a bit more difficult.
 

Mainoldo

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You forgot the main thing.

Better coach.

But probably won’t happen so the only way this work is if we spend another 250£m.
 

Buster15

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You forgot the main thing.

Better coach.

But probably won’t happen so the only way this work is if we spend another 250£m.
As we have seen from Liverpool, one of the key issues is getting players to form partnerships.
Wing backs and wingers, center midfield and especially forwards.

And yes, that is down to coaching; not necessarily the manager.

I do believe that we are starting to form the basis of a good side. And we do have a number of very talented players.

But coaching definitely needs to be ramped up quite a few notches.
 

AshRK

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It's not going to be a quick fix especially with the way our board dithers while spending. We must bin two of mata, periera and lingard and also sell Jones and Rojo. Ideally we should buy a quality cb like you said to challenge lindelof but that would be asking too much from this board. But I would be fine having tuanzebe and developing Mengi as CB for a season before spending money on a CB. Reason being we need to add a quality attacker preferably a rw. So add sancho and bin lingard. Would be even better if we can add one more attacker, I would be fine with grealish and then bin Mata or periera. Our bench quality for attack will go up big time.

My realistic expectations would be to get both sancho and Grealish and bin off Lingard and Periera or Mata.
 

r0663664

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Yes, getting the right players will give us a fighting chance. I am not sure Ole is the right person. Ok, he has brought a few good players but I haven't seen anything to suggest that we can mount a challenge.
 

Darshan Mody

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We need to sell Jones, Smalling and Rojo.

Sanchez needs to go since he inflates the wage bill. Also Lingard and Mata since they don't fit into the system and promote academy players.

Promote Hannibal Mejbri and Garner to first team or give them for loan for them to develop in Championship

Need to add Grealish and Sancho and a good CB or CF who can play as an understudy or ready to challenge either Martial or Rashford. If we get Sancho Greenwood can be the CF we can get from the bench and we can invest in someone like Upacemeno young Center back
 

passing-wind

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It depends how we define moving forward. If any fan on here is going to tell me we are winning the league in 24 months I think this is deluded because we are far off from the consistency at performing at a high level to achieve this. However, I do think Solskjaer has done well building the profile / individual characteristic of this team. We've looked like folding many times towards the tail end of the season but the players have shown grit and determination getting us decent results.

The reason why this is important is because last year Liverpool showed the level they have in the quality of their play (winning UCL), this year they showed the depth in the character of the team. Many of their displays they've sacrificed the level of performance which has exemplified the heart within the team. It's also two commonalities that Liverpool / City have, they are two great teams. We are in the process of forming a team and we will see the identity of them in the coming season.

Realistically I think progression for us would be finishing comfortably in the top 4 and that's contingent of resembling the influence Leicester have had on the table. So if we can Leicester City the league next season (without dropping form as they are displaying) then that for me is a derivative of Ole bringing success. Anything that is accomplished over that I'd define as overachieving.
 

Bilbo

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We wont just instantly move up a level*, but we have every reason to believe that a gradual improvement is not only a possibility, but actually very likely, given the age profile and mentality of this squad.

*of course we did instantly move up a level when Bruno signed, but we were so bereft of creativity at that point that his influence on our play was instant. I dont see too many obvious gaps in our team now - aside from perhaps right sided attack - where one player can transform us to that extent
 

Utdstar01

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I still think we need better attacking full backs. Shaw is a mixed bag. Wan Bissaka has shown encouraging signs but uncertain as to whether he can be a real force in the attacking third.

Assuming Laird can keep fit he could be exactly what we need on that right flank and Ole even spoke about him yesterday after the game. That Left back position is up in the air IMO.
 

Siorac

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We're getting ahead of ourselves. We had a good run in 2020 but it could easily be yet another false dawn. A lot of the squad is the same that utterly collapsed in 2018/19.
 

Deery

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If we play our best starting 11 we could move up a level and I think that would be expected next season. We are too good to be in around 5th and 6th again next season.
Without even adding anyone top 4 should be a priority and if we strengthen all the better.
A lot of players on their first season too so the should only improve next season aswell.
 

King7Eric

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Yes, getting the right players will give us a fighting chance. I am not sure Ole is the right person. Ok, he has brought a few good players but I haven't seen anything to suggest that we can mount a challenge.
This is said about every manager until they win their first trophy or league title. It's not so long ago that people said Klopp lacked the mentality to forge his team from a team that plays exciting football into a team that can win titles. And this was despite the fact he had won league titles with Dortmund.

The same was said about Pochettino, so saying things like we haven't seen anything from a manager to suggest he can lead a team to titles is idle talk. All it takes is one season to change that, and somehow people always tend to remember that. A guy like Jose has mounted nothing close to a title challenge in 5 years and is still referred to as a "serial winner".

Ole has assembled a genuinely exciting team, he's improved the bulk of players he inherited, such as Rashford, Martial, McTominay, Fred, Shaw etc and made very good signings who have made a significant impact. He's on the right path and to hold the fact that he hasn't shown in the past he can win trophies is terribly unfair in my opinion.
 

Bilbo

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This is said about every manager until they win their first trophy or league title. It's not so long ago that people said Klopp lacked the mentality to forge his team from a team that plays exciting football into a team that can win titles. And this was despite the fact he had won league titles with Dortmund.

The same was said about Pochettino, so saying things like we haven't seen anything from a manager to suggest he can lead a team to titles is idle talk. All it takes is one season to change that, and somehow people always tend to remember that. A guy like Jose has mounted nothing close to a title challenge in 5 years and is still referred to as a "serial winner".

Ole has assembled a genuinely exciting team, he's improved the bulk of players he inherited, such as Rashford, Martial, McTominay, Fred, Shaw etc and made very good signings who have made a significant impact. He's on the right path and to hold the fact that he hasn't shown in the past he can win trophies is terribly unfair in my opinion.
Not to mention that his record in big games is outstanding
 

bosnian_red

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Yeah I was thinking yesterday how I'd be cautiously optimistic about any competition. Don't think we'll have the consistency for the league but the cup competitions, provided we sign Sancho, id be very optimistic for. We are by far favourites right now for Europa League, have a chance for top 4 and might sneak in with 5th place, so I think one of those 3 will pan out and we'll get CL football. But next season in the champions league, I think we'll have a chance against anyone.

You look at our team and the performances we are capable of, if we have a fit Pogba, Matic and Bruno together in midfield with Martial, Rashford and Sancho as the front 3, we'll have a good chance against anyone. A massive change from 18/19 where you expected us to struggle in the CL and only had a chance with luck to get through. Now I'd actually think we can get through anyone.
 

Rozay

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I think we are at a similar place to pre Alisson/Van Dijk Liverpool potentially, and getting our equivalent purchases right would have the same effect.
 

Dec9003

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I think despite having a pretty solid first eleven, we have too many average players in the squad to compete with city and Liverpool for now.
We can definitely close the gap next season though, and we will have all our young lads getting older and hopefully better.
I suppose if we had a really good season fitness wise, and the current top two fail to replicate their form then maybe us or Chelsea could be the ones to capitalise on that.
 

Mainoldo

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As we have seen from Liverpool, one of the key issues is getting players to form partnerships.
Wing backs and wingers, center midfield and especially forwards.

And yes, that is down to coaching; not necessarily the manager.

I do believe that we are starting to form the basis of a good side. And we do have a number of very talented players.

But coaching definitely needs to be ramped up quite a few notches.
Well something has to give. I actually don’t think partnerships are worked on. They just work or they don’t. Team play can be though. Ole’s done a great job for his level.. but for the next level. We need a change... yes better coaches can do this but I highly doubt we will be getting rid of Carrick or McKenna under this regime.
 

Giggsy13

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We need further investment into the squad to take the next step. What we saw at Norwich City was a huge drop off from Sheffield united, and it’s clear we have too many players not worthy of being at the club. We need depth as well as more quality in our starting 11. We need a RW and arguably a CB just to make our starting 11 a consistent top 4 threat. We then need to add more squad depth if presumably we’re getting rid of Lingard, Pereira, Smalling and Jones.

Sancho is a no brainer but then we need to find “James” type deals to fill the squad. Cantwell comes to mind with Norwich city almost certain to be relegated. We could probably get him on the cheap. We’ve also been linked to Rodon of Swansea City apparently on a recommendation from Giggs. On top of the big name signings, we need to make smart moves for players off the radar. We used to be good at this (Park, Vidic, Evra) but have lost that over the years.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Guess it depends on what people view as the next step. I don’t think a title challenge is the next step and would be more like taking 2 or 3 steps in one. Next year I would say the realistic goal should be to be comfortably in the top 4 and closer to say Liverpool and City.
The step after that would be to be challenging them. I think there is a good nucleus there of a team or at least a very good first 11. You add two or three good players to that and maybe we’ll have something.
 

ShinjiNinja26

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We’re getting there. Are first eleven is potentially just a couple of Van Dijk/Allison level signings away from being there. Squad depth wise though is where we really need to improve, as we seen yesterday the drop off in quality between our first choice and second string players is far to great. Need a real strong squad if we really want to properly challenge on all fronts consistently.
 

Adnan

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It will ultimately come down to our approach. We don't have a good enough RWF player and Sancho would more than remedy that but to challenge Klopp/Guardiola we will need to impose ourselves much better on games and must IMO adopt a proactive approach which can only happen if we have the correct profile of player at CB and DM. We currently don't have the correct profile of player and even signing Sancho won't be enough.

Sancho would add to our attack and make it much better from a playmaking and craft/guile stand point. Only thing missing would be variety in the #9 role to have a complete attack. Someone good in the air would be nice as a alternative to Martial as backup.

But the main issue is advancing play from deep which we're considerably behind Liverpool. They also have CBs who are not only good technically on the ball but also give Klopp the option of pushing the backline high due to the recovery pace of the likes of Van Dyke. Strong defenders in a deep block and strong in a high line which we can't compete with.

Then if you look at their midfield they have players like Wijnaldum who is superb at ball retention/short passing and helps along with the others to keep the pressure on the oppo before Liverpool eventually overwhelm the opposition. And I haven't even mentioned his ground coverage off the ball which helps them win the ball back quickly and they're much more mobile in comparison to our only DM which is a big advantage in defensive transition for them.

I'm no expert and I'm sure others will have better suggestions than me. But for me if we can sign the below three, we will be very close to mounting a very serious challenge to the likes of Liverpool and City.

Sancho-RWF
Zakaria-DM
Konate-CB
 

Buster15

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Well something has to give. I actually don’t think partnerships are worked on. They just work or they don’t. Team play can be though. Ole’s done a great job for his level.. but for the next level. We need a change... yes better coaches can do this but I highly doubt we will be getting rid of Carrick or McKenna under this regime.
Good partnerships build good teamwork. Groups of players working together result in the whole team working for eachother.
 

NJM78

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I feel we will be fighting for 4th next season. We still have way too many average players at the club and an inexperienced manager. I doubt we are buying Sancho either so I feel we will once again be nowhere near City or Liverpool next season.

I think we will definitely finish behind Liverpool, City and Chelsea so hopefully we do better than Wolves, Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs and grab that 4th spot.
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

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Yes we are really close. Probably need another creative midfielder, Sancho, another CB, and a better LB to vault ourselves into the top of Europe conversation imo.

People are off base with thinking that we need every player to already be fantastic that we buy, when in reality Liverpool bought smartly players that fit how they wanted to play and identified the attributes that they were looking for and grew other parts of their game. No team bar Madrid and maybe Bayern or Barca ever has a bench of world class players.
 

sparx99

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This is said about every manager until they win their first trophy or league title. It's not so long ago that people said Klopp lacked the mentality to forge his team from a team that plays exciting football into a team that can win titles. And this was despite the fact he had won league titles with Dortmund.

The same was said about Pochettino, so saying things like we haven't seen anything from a manager to suggest he can lead a team to titles is idle talk. All it takes is one season to change that, and somehow people always tend to remember that. A guy like Jose has mounted nothing close to a title challenge in 5 years and is still referred to as a "serial winner".

Ole has assembled a genuinely exciting team, he's improved the bulk of players he inherited, such as Rashford, Martial, McTominay, Fred, Shaw etc and made very good signings who have made a significant impact. He's on the right path and to hold the fact that he hasn't shown in the past he can win trophies is terribly unfair in my opinion.
Also, Ole is a title winner as a player and as a manager!
 

AFC NimbleThumb

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Not necessarily, we'll spend big again no doubt, but I think we've got most of what we need already at the club.
What do you think we’re missing?

I only ask cause for me yesterday proved we don’t have anything near the relevant depth to challenge on multiple fronts; our first 11 is promising & a few key improvements would sure tgat up but I don’t see us doing anything in the league if we don’t priorities it above everything else next season.
 

Robertd0803

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I feel like we are getting there. But.....theres several first team positions need sorting first then the deadwood need shipping out etc....

I hate comparing us to Liverpool but you could see that it took a few years to get to where they are now and they had major issues. Once they got Van Dyk the consensus was if they needed to sort the goalkeeper. Karius cost them a CL so they sorted that problem and look what happened next. :mad:

It looks like the culture/approach of the club is on the right track but until we have the first team sorted I think/fear we will be close but not close enough.
 

AltiUn

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I think without Covid-19 we could've been ready for some kind of challenge next season. While I still think we'll get our big RW target I think due to financial uncertainties we'll likely miss out on a quality midfield reinforcements, we run the risk of running Matic and Fernandes into the ground. I'll be honest, I think we need a better partner for Maguire too, Lindelof's been here quite a few years and I'm still not sold on him.
 

Class of 63

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What do you think we’re missing?

I only ask cause for me yesterday proved we don’t have anything near the relevant depth to challenge on multiple fronts; our first 11 is promising & a few key improvements would sure tgat up but I don’t see us doing anything in the league if we don’t priorities it above everything else next season.
In the short-term I think we only need somebody for RW, and the best DLM we can get our hands on to spell and eventually replace Matic, if we can sign those two and they hit the ground running with consistency of selection, our fair share of luck with injuries we won't be far away.

And on squad depth I don't have the worries some do, in 1999 with only Keane, Scholes and Berg missing we had to put Jonathan Greening on the bench in the Champions League final.
 

Gum_gum

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Our 11 looks good compared to the top teams?

Seriously.

Our LB is one notch above awful. It's strange so many are willing to accept a player who could down tools and stop training properly at any time. That's if he hasn't done already a few times this season.

We have no top CBs. Not sure thats up for discussion.

Pogba has wanted out for years and we've received a single bid, and it was completely unrealistic. Barca, PSG, City, Chelsea, Bayern not even paper gossip. He's not all that. Pogba against Sheffield was the best he's played for us for years but that's not a player anyone is gonna spend 100m for.

Big fan of Bruno but we need to wait and see.

As for our front line, come on. Our guys don't compare to top teams, that's just silly. You could see against Norwich why Greenwood doesn't start.

Martial having a good (for him) scoring season but if any of you think his no sprintin', no runnin' style would last longer than a season at a club with actual ambition you are very mistaken.

And then when we look at what other clubs have in the bench versus us it's no competition at all. Fred? Lingard? James?

Hopefully we can be good enough for top four next year, but that will be hard.
 
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andersj

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I think we are at a similar place to pre Alisson/Van Dijk Liverpool potentially, and getting our equivalent purchases right would have the same effect.
In short, this was my main point.

And that we should have the resources we need to make these signings.
 

GeordieRed

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After several years of walking through a dessert blindfolded we could be at the cusp of making it back.
Nobody will trifle with us. Might sound like waffle, but I think we can have our cake and eat it.

It’s a great time to be a flan.
 
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The Siege

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We're one attacking player injury away from this bubble popping. The squad isn't a next-level squad at all, most players outside the regular starting XI haven't looked like they know what the plan is at Manchester United, before or after the corona break.