Strategies to get United out of this mess?

Insanity

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Proper Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment.

We are not getting out of this mess without sorting out our recruitment. Over the last 11 years we have spent copious amount of money with very little return. Each of our managers have been given circa 500m to spend like a prodigal son. We have indulged them and sanctioned whichever shit signing they wanted on exorbitant wages. First the thing the new structure needs to do is to put a full stop on that. Right now every club and player agent thinks it's Christmas come early when we come calling. I am sure Ajax still can't believe that we paid them ~57m for Licha and to top that ~90m for Antony in the same transfer window. I bet the Antony's agent's first sell point to his potential clients is how he got Antony a 10X salary bump when he joined at United. It has been so annoying to watch throw money down the drain and make the same mistakes year on year.

For me:

- We need to hire the right recruitment people.
- Then those guys need to hire the right manager and get at least 90% of the signings right.
- We need a bit of patience for all of it to come together.

If we can do those, we could be back to challenging again in 3-4 years time. We do have the resources.
 

Roboc7

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The squad needs to be completely dismantled, need a really big exodus of players. We have a lot whose contracts expire over next 2 years and only a couple who you’d want to renew so it’s happening one way or another anyway.

Need a new manager and have to hope the new recruitment team can align with them to build a squad of players who have the ability and willingness to change how we play with and without the ball. It’s not a quick fix and we’re effectively starting from square one but need to break this cycle we have been in for a decade.
 

golden_blunder

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Right now we’ve emptied the reserves. So I think we need to relook at that.

our squad is poor, a few who should be sitting on the bench are almost guaranteed first team
 

DRJosh

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Close the club down for a few years whilst we invest in cloning Messi, Mbappe and perhaps Mainoo.
 

golden_blunder

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Just have a good transfer window for once and buy quality - oshimen 120/ Frankel De Jong -70 / de light 60/ Olise 50
Yeah everyone will say no and too slow and we already have Hojlund and blah blah blah but I'm not having it that adding 4 top players won't improve us greatly. It doesn't have to be these players. Get others but quality and ready. Not a 19 year old that needs 4 years.
I don’t think INEOS are the type to go out and buy marquee signings
 

Gordon Godot

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I don’t think INEOS are the type to go out and buy marquee signings
Agreed, sorry but its so silly to suggest we need marquee signings. look at PSG or Chelsea. its not hard. you just copy what City did, who in turn copied Barca. You hire the best people to run the club, from experienced CEO (we are poaching from City) to a DoF (hopefully we agree a fee soon) and other appointments, then you go fom there. Strong data science team (we dont have), strong scouting with robust processes. Invest more in youth. Clear football philosophy. Then manager is less important though still key, they are primarily a coach.
 

Remember the geese

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@Remember the geese

This was also Arteta in his 3rd season at Arsenal against City.

The match stats look like an all too familiar story. Incredible that this was as recent as 2021 and that they were challenging for the title the following season.

Slightly earlier, but their FA Cup winning side.

 

Hughes35

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Things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Liverpool and City look great and everybody says they are well run. After Klopp / Pep they could easily fall off a cliff.

Same with underperforming clubs, it can turn around quickly. The plan must be to improve structure, backroom staff, manager and players. We can't comment on the off pitch structures as we don't understand the issues or current capability.

On the pitch everybody seems to agree with the below:

Actively Sell / remove

Sancho
DVB
Martial
Rashford
Lindelof
Amrabat (Loan ending)
Anthony
Maguire (Last time he still has value IMO)
Eriksen (Part of a swap for Toney)
Pellistri (Sell or loan out)
Mejbri (Loan out for another season)


Open to sell for good offers

Casemiro, Varane, Fernandes etc for a decent offer

Buy players such as

Frimpong
Pino
Wirtz
Hincapie
Leao
Branthwaite
Onana (Everton)
Toney

Estupinian
Livramento
Eze / Olisse
Bowen
Cunha
Neto
Rabiot (Free)
Guido Rodríguez (Free)



I've bolded the players I would really target and think are pretty realistic transfers. I know it's not FM but that would give a squad something like this:

--------------------------------------------------------Onana-----------------------------------------
Dalot/AWB-------Branthwaite/Varane----------Martinez/Hincapie-----------------Shaw/Malacia
---------------------------Mainoo/Casemiro-----------Onana/Rabiot-----------------------------
Neto/Pino-----------------------------------Bruno/Olisse-----------------------Garnacho/Neto
-----------------------------------------------------Hojlund/Toney-----------------------


Other - Mount who can covers a few positions, Evans as a last resort back up in injury crisis.

So yea, that would be my plan and although it's ambitious I genuinely don't think it's unrealistic.
 

devilish

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Immediate term (1-3 months)

- Conduct a deep analysis of what's going wrong. We pick too many injuries, our recruitment is a joke, we overpay on salaries and fees and professionalism seems to be a rare thing at this club
- Bring best in class at top levels. I am referring to Sporting director, Head of fitness and Head of recruitment
- Sort the fitness department and the recruiting department. We can't keep on signing the wrong type of players and we certainly can't have players vanishing in the treatment room never to come out of it again. If needs burn (metaphorically speaking) entire departments down


Short term (till end of the season)

- Decide on the manager's fate. Is he the man to lead United's through? Can he adapt to the new circumstances ? Has he lost the dressing room?
- Get rid of the experienced heads. It will take us 3 years to get us back to our feet. Thus the likes of Varane, Casemiro and co have no future at United.
- Implement a < 25 years minus player transfer policy (bar free transfers and bargains)
- Flesh departments out. We need new fitness people, better scouting co-ordination (including a better scouting net in South America etc), better recruitment people (ex we need to start selling into the Saudi league etc)
- make a Decision on who stays and who leaves in terms to of Sancho, greenwood and rashy

Summer

- I'd say a striker, a DM, a CM, and a LB is a must. I'd add a RW and a RB should follow either in that summer window or in January.
 

tomaldinho1

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Things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Liverpool and City look great and everybody says they are well run. After Klopp / Pep they could easily fall off a cliff.
This really is the truth of the matter. Take a step back and remind yourself as a fan that even with the sheer incompetence, and it really has been that bad, of how we've recruited managers and players, we've basically been an EL/CL club. Being able to spend is all that matters in this game as long as there is a semblance of a plan. We should have that with Ineos.
 

Hughes35

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This really is the truth of the matter. Take a step back and remind yourself as a fan that even with the sheer incompetence, and it really has been that bad, of how we've recruited managers and players, we've basically been an EL/CL club. Being able to spend is all that matters in this game as long as there is a semblance of a plan. We should have that with Ineos.
Yep, amazes me the pundits all talk about turn around taking YEARS and things like that. Look at the turnaround at Tottenham and Villa for the positive or our turnaround after Ferguson for the negative.

A couple of seasons of proper recruitment, coaching and work behind the scenes is "all" it takes.
 

bosnian_red

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  1. Hire a better coach who will coach them better and can implement a balanced system.
  2. Sign players that suit the coach who are dynamic and have the right physical & technical attributes across the pitch (you need players on the modern day who are press resistant and can carry the ball, are strong but also agile)
  3. Clear out unnecessary depth, you only need 2 players per position (and even then, a reliable squad of starters and real competition of about 16 players with the other 6 being a bit more fringe squad players, and the remaining players in your squad being fringe youth players is fine)
  4. Change the age profile of our squad, fitness profile of the squad (too many injury prone players, it becomes messy when your main options are injury prone)
From a squad perspective, it is possible for us to have a turnover in one summer where you address the biggest needs and we are comfortably the 4th best side in the league .. even 3rd with Klopp leaving. We need to aggressively change the CMs and the CB's, and then do a little adjustment at LB given the injuries and get a squad player CF.
 

tomaldinho1

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Yep, amazes me the pundits all talk about turn around taking YEARS and things like that. Look at the turnaround at Tottenham and Villa for the positive or our turnaround after Ferguson for the negative.

A couple of seasons of proper recruitment, coaching and work behind the scenes is "all" it takes.
The way we play makes the gap look so big but it really isn't:

Top 5 versus each other:

City lost to City and Arsenal, drew with Pool and Spurs.
Pool lost to Arsenal and Spurs, beat Villa, drew with City
Arsenal beat City, Pool, lost to Villa, drew with Spurs
Villa beat City, Arsenal and Spurs, lost to Pool
Spurs beat Pool, drew with City and Arsenal , lost to Villa.

Basically it's a free for all. There are 5 good teams in the league with one being uber rich and two being big spenders.

There is no reason whatsoever we shouldn't/couldn't get to the level Spurs/Villa are within a full season. Just need to commit to making that a reality and understanding it means likely shifting some big names.
 

Mike Smalling

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It's not a strategy, but part of what we need going forward is ruthlessness. We cannot keep overpaying in transfer fees, overpaying in salaries, and lingering with players that are either past it or have proven they don't have the level. Not only is it not financially viable, but it also creates a loser mentality among the squad that gets handsomely rewarded for medicrotiy.

To that end, I kind of believe there would be secondary benefits to selling Rashford. It would show that anyone who doesn't perform is expendable, even if last season was great, if you're a homegrown player, etc. No excuses.
 

greater wall

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Given the financial constraints, a replacement for Martial is a priority. A left back to take the load off Shaw. Replace Erikson with a quality midfielder if money allows. We need to be playing for the CL qualification for the next couple of seasons.
 

Hughes35

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It's not a strategy, but part of what we need going forward is ruthlessness. We cannot keep overpaying in transfer fees, overpaying in salaries, and lingering with players that are either past it or have proven they don't have the level. Not only is it not financially viable, but it also creates a loser mentality among the squad that gets handsomely rewarded for medicrotiy.

To that end, I kind of believe there would be secondary benefits to selling Rashford. It would show that anyone who doesn't perform is expendable, even if last season was great, if you're a homegrown player, etc. No excuses.
I believe this is what INEOS will bring. The old Regime would renew the contract of Martial because it's better for the balance sheet as he's an "asset". I just don't see the new ownsers making those basic mistakes (At least not so regularly)
 

Josep Dowling

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Recruitment is the biggest issue and now we are faced with FFP as well. The club needs to start making profit in the transfer window and lowering the cost of players. To be able to compete unfortunately we have to go down the multi-club ownership route and vastly improving our youth system. Youth players then have to be sold for decent value. This will take minimum 5 years to achieve, probably longer.

For the first 11 we pay too much on transfer fees and salaries. Our player turnover is also way too slow. We reward mediocrity which is why so many players won't leave. There are too many players that stay for over 4/5 seasons when they have shown they aren't good enough or consistently injury prone. Currently Lindelof, Varane, Maguire, Shaw, Wan Bissaka, Sancho, McTominay, Martial. All of these have outlasted at least 3 managers. This is before you consider the likes of Casemiro, Martinez and Mount. 3 signings which have come in under Ten Hag who are all injury prone.

This job is monumental and as Rangnick stated we need open heart surgery.
 

NinjaZombie

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I think we need to start with selling the likes of Rashford and McTominay. Academy players, so FFP numbers will like that.
 

ThierryHenry14

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@Remember the geese

This was also Arteta in his 3rd season at Arsenal against City.

Yep. Trust the process. Josh trusts Arteta and Edu and supported them even when results were bad. How did Arteta and Edu earn his trust, or what makes Josh trust them, I don't know though.
 

daba

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Dismantle the team Chelsea style and start all over again. Get rid of most of the squad, fire the manager and give the new manager a totally clean slate to do his own thing. Anything short of that will not work.
Yep, a nice big clear out, reset the standards and culture at the club, get Amorim in, get him Frimpong and 2-3 new CBs with pace, power with ability on the ball and to play a high line. Get Rasmus some support up top, get a new CM and a new DM and probably a new LWB option, unless he fancies trying Antony there. Might be a bumpy first season but at least he’s a manager with a clear vision that INEOS can be fully aligned with and rebuild with from scratch.
 

UpWithRivers

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I don’t think INEOS are the type to go out and buy marquee signings
Agreed, sorry but its so silly to suggest we need marquee signings. look at PSG or Chelsea. its not hard. you just copy what City did, who in turn copied Barca. You hire the best people to run the club, from experienced CEO (we are poaching from City) to a DoF (hopefully we agree a fee soon) and other appointments, then you go fom there. Strong data science team (we dont have), strong scouting with robust processes. Invest more in youth. Clear football philosophy. Then manager is less important though still key, they are primarily a coach.
Define Marquee signings? Was Darwin Nunes at 100 mill a marquee signing? Was Van Dijk? Was Gvardiol? Was Haaland? This idea that Pep and Klopp just bought some randoms all the time on little money is nonsense. Plus the market is completely different now. 120 for Oshimen is the going rate for a striker. FDJ at 70 is a fkn bargain if it was ever possible. Szbozlai was that price. Pep or Klopp needed a player they would pay these prices. Pep just fluked it by getting Haaland for a budget price. But he still forked out when he had to. Grealish? Klopp signed a load of front players when needed.
Chelsea fkd up by buying youngsters for the first team. Pep an Klopp buy young players but to add to an established team and drop them when they need to. We need an established team first.
 

Powderfinger

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@Remember the geese

This was also Arteta in his 3rd season at Arsenal against City.

The stats are a little misleading as Xhaka got sent off in the first half. But overall that match is a really good illustration of your prior post regarding the importance of a defensive spine with the qualities that allow you to play higher up the pitch and control matches out of possession. Due to various reasons Arsenal started a defense including Kolasinac, Holding, Chambers, and Cedric in that City match, which is an abomination and of course a team that could only get pushed back and desperately defend the entire match. Three months later we played them on New Year's Day at the Emirates and, while losing after a dodgy penalty/red card disaster sequence in the second half, had the upper hand against them for 60 minutes while going toe-to-toe, pushing them back and having a bit more of the ball. The big difference was being able to put Gabriel, White, Tomiyasu, and Partey on the pitch.

The most damning thing about Ten Hag is that he has spent 450m over four windows and still is yet to bring in a defender or defensive midfielder who has the combination of athletic traits and duel winning ability necessary to play that kind of front footed football.
 

golden_blunder

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Define Marquee signings? Was Darwin Nunes at 100 mill a marquee signing? Was Van Dijk? Was Gvardiol? Was Haaland? This idea that Pep and Klopp just bought some randoms all the time on little money is nonsense. Plus the market is completely different now. 120 for Oshimen is the going rate for a striker. FDJ at 70 is a fkn bargain if it was ever possible. Szbozlai was that price. Pep or Klopp needed a player they would pay these prices. Pep just fluked it by getting Haaland for a budget price. But he still forked out when he had to. Grealish? Klopp signed a load of front players when needed.
Chelsea fkd up by buying youngsters for the first team. Pep an Klopp buy young players but to add to an established team and drop them when they need to. We need an established team first.
We aren’t gonna go and spend our load on players costing 120m up front, it’s just not going to happen in my opinion. Everything that Ratcliffe has talked about is doing things in the right way and building properly. We’ve tried firing money and it hasn’t worked. The DoF and his team already appear to be scouring South America. We are going to see a bunch of players signed for less than 40m
 

top1whoisman

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The most damning thing about Ten Hag is that he has spent 450m over four windows and still is yet to bring in a defender or defensive midfielder who has the combination of athletic traits and duel winning ability necessary to play that kind of front footed football.
 

Teja

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Things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Liverpool and City look great and everybody says they are well run. After Klopp / Pep they could easily fall off a cliff.
This is the most important to remember. Stop the reactionary posts after derby day humiliation (esp against the best side(s) in Europe ). We're just not there.

The pressure to qualify for CL tends to result in every manager binning off their own plans and just resorting to counter-attack...which the players find easier to understand.
I agree with this - been banging on about it since last season but the only strategy we have is to sit in a mid block, force a turnover and pick up some results. This is basically Moyes-ball and we need to change incentives from immediate CL qualification / title challenge + huge investment to something that looks like progress on the pitch.

The football has to both pass the eye test and also look good when you inspect the data (xGD/90, xT, field tilt, pressing success rate from opposition goal kicks, build up success from our goal kicks -- plenty of metrics exist)

The huge call is have we got the right manager.
This is the biggest one - I definitely don't know although I want Ten Hag gone. We need someone with footballing wisdom to understand how much of our failings are due to poor squad building vs how much is on the manager.
 

Teja

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Nah we have 4 CBs who'd prefer to drop and no one who can be the aggressive ball winner / ball carrier mould. We need the Ramos to Varane or Timber to Martinez. Ten Hag asked Martinez to do it because Maguire can't and he got exposed a few times last season.

You need the recovery pace, strength and general physicality to pull it off.
 

Powderfinger

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He is a great player and IMO would be an ideal LB in this kind of system, especially one who moved up a line into midfield in possession and was responsible for that kind of zone during defensive transitions. But I don't think he is an ideal CB in this kind of system, who has to be among the last 2-3 defenders, able to win foot races after balls over the top and able to cover the channels behind other defenders and handle opposing forwards 1v1 in those spaces if necessary.
 

Wrecking ralf

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As much as our signings will be crucial, doing a good job selling the deadwood will be just as important. With ffp being relevant for everyone but city, we’ll need to get the highest fee possible for a lot of these players to be able to reinvest the money. We’re getting rid of some players with decent sell on value, get this summer right and we could take a massive step forward next season.
 

sparx99

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Nah we have 4 CBs who'd prefer to drop and no one who can be the aggressive ball winner / ball carrier mould. We need the Ramos to Varane or Timber to Martinez. Ten Hag asked Martinez to do it because Maguire can't and he got exposed a few times last season.

You need the recovery pace, strength and general physicality to pull it off.
I think Martinez is fine in that his aggression makes up for a lack of height and strength. It’s a centre back partnership and he hasn’t had the consistent partner whose attributes compliments his (a younger Varane essentially).

I also like the idea of trying to sign Theo Hernandez or similar at left back. He’s big and quick and we could then have Shaw as LCB and rotation with Martinez. Shaw has actually looked really good in that role when he’s played there and it may help him stay fit.
 

sparx99

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He is a great player and IMO would be an ideal LB in this kind of system, especially one who moved up a line into midfield in possession and was responsible for that kind of zone during defensive transitions. But I don't think he is an ideal CB in this kind of system, who has to be among the last 2-3 defenders, able to win foot races after balls over the top and able to cover the channels behind other defenders and handle opposing forwards 1v1 in those spaces if necessary.
I don’t remember Martinez losing too many foot races or whatnot. He’s the aggressor who compresses the space to midfield. We’re supported to have a quick athletic guy alongside to cover. Varane has lost a yard and Maguire never had any pace. It’s why we’ve been linked to Todibo amongst others.
 

Gordon Godot

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This is the most important to remember. Stop the reactionary posts after derby day humiliation (esp against the best side(s) in Europe ). We're just not there.



I agree with this - been banging on about it since last season but the only strategy we have is to sit in a mid block, force a turnover and pick up some results. This is basically Moyes-ball and we need to change incentives from immediate CL qualification / title challenge + huge investment to something that looks like progress on the pitch.

The football has to both pass the eye test and also look good when you inspect the data (xGD/90, xT, field tilt, pressing success rate from opposition goal kicks, build up success from our goal kicks -- plenty of metrics exist)



This is the biggest one - I definitely don't know although I want Ten Hag gone. We need someone with footballing wisdom to understand how much of our failings are due to poor squad building vs how much is on the manager.
Sorry I disagree with a lot of this. I very much doubt Liverpool or City fall off a cliff, their structures are too good, especially City. Its not reactionary to a City loss, its the timid scared approach and one we have seen far too often. It comes after getting schooled at OT by Fulham. its fine to want to change the negativity but lets keep expectations of one of the very biggest clubs in world with one of most expensive squads at an appropriate level.

its also not just about the 'right' manager', its a good coach who delivers good football, so that last bit i agree with you. But with a strong structure in place the club becomes more resilient and we should be able to be less manager fan boys
 

Martin(6)Buchan

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Back to basics and what made United the team to fear, this for me starts at the top and get rid of the worthless leeches who are not interested in football only the money. Stop buying overaged players for over inflated prices, plus stop selling players on the cheap and looking like fools, get the scouts in who are actually good at their trade and mix the young with experieced but not over aged players.
 

lex talionis

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Yes obviously getting it right with transfers is a necessary precondition, but we still haven’t answered why we have gotten it so spectacularly wrong with almost every player we’ve signed over the last decade.

I don’t have that answer nor does anyone else here as we don’t sit in the club’s war room on player strategy. But in retrospect we got it badly wrong from the day we signed Fellaini to, more recently, signing Antony and Mount.
 

Moriarty

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1. Sign nobody unless they have been extensively scouted for a long period of time
2. Sign nobody unless they are of the right character - no outstanding allegations etc
3. Don't sign crocks
4. Don't sign old players (over 26)
5. Don't sell anyone until we have replacements signed who are an upgrade (no Amrabat for Fred situations)
Make sure our youth set-up is second to none. We want the best kids picking United over our rivals. Reinstate the ethos of Busby and Ferguson.