We know what we are buying, but what are we selling?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by fastwalker, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Jun 8, 2019

    fastwalker Full Member

    May 6, 2019
    Like me I am sure that you are excited at the thought of revamping the United first 11 will some top draw signings. We are obviously not going to get all our targets, but we will get some. The sheer financial muscle that United can bring to the table means that the heads of some players and agents will be turned and that will enable us to get some deals over the line.

    If our recruiting department does its job, we would have done the due diligence on all the players we recruit and we will be confident of their fit with the club. In other words there will be no repetition of the Di Maria, Falcao, Schweinsteiger, Depay, Mhkitarayan and Sanchez debacles. But here is what troubles me, what is it that we are actually selling to these players? I mean, this is not a City or Liverpool type situation where players will want to come for the manager or Champions League football or for the lustre and prestige of the club? It is patently obvious that new signings are not coming for that. So what are we selling apart from the chance to earn huge wages? Essentially our key 'selling point' is the chance for these players to be part of a three to five year rebuilding job, which is being re-launched at the third attempt, with a rookie manager?

    That's the deal isn't it?

    Here's my problem, if you are going to 're-build' you need to make a compelling case, not just for people to want to stay, but for them to want to die-in-a-ditch for the cause. This is fundamentally about winning of hearts and minds. Unfortunately, it is something that United have singularly failed to do in recent years. Not just that, but how do you seriously convince top talent that you are serious about re-building, for the future when you are offering deadwood like Ashley Young and Phil Jones new contracts?

    Again, my question is: what is it exactly that we are selling?

    If it all goes well, we will have some outstanding new recruits purring on all cylinders, with all wheels pointing in the right direction. My concern though, is that unless we know the vision that we are selling and can be confident that the players will buy into it, we could simply end up assembling yet another group of expensive, over-hyped and over-paid misfits.

    Thoughts please?
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  2. Jun 8, 2019

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

    Nov 27, 2014
    Player Performance Threads
    It's a good point you make. It seems like the only players we're linked with selling are the most high profile players i.e. Lukaku and De Gea. Herrera's already gone.

    Whilst the dross remains. Not sure how the likes of Darmian, Jones and Rojo are still here. Young is awful but we haven't addressed the position at all bar a 20 year old who needs time.
  3. Jun 8, 2019

    Schmeichel's Cartwheel Full Member

    Dec 21, 2014
    We've never been good sellers. It's very rare we get back what we paid for a player. There is a lot of deadwood in our team on high wages, has been for a while, clubs won't want to cough up on them. I reckon best case scenario this summer would be


    Daniel James
    Right Back (Meunier most likely)
    Centre Back (God knows who)
    Centre Midfielder (Herrera replacement)
    Right winger (No idea who)
    Centre Forward

    Herrera (free)
    Valencia (free)
    Darmian (free)
    Mata (free)
    Rojo or Bailly (we'll probably have to take a big loss on one)
    Sanchez (if we find suitors)
  4. Jun 8, 2019

    VP89 Pogba's biggest fan

    Dec 6, 2015
    I genuinely don't think we know what (or who) we are buying.
  5. Jun 8, 2019

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

    Sep 24, 2012
    We know who we're buying?
  6. Jun 8, 2019

    Robbie Boy Full Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    I’ve literally no idea who we’re buying.
  7. Jun 8, 2019

    Samid follows Pogue around, fixing his images

    Dec 12, 2012
    Oslo, Norway
    What are we buying?
  8. Jun 8, 2019

    GDaly95 Sexist Pig

    May 1, 2013
    I have very little faith in our ability to bring in the correct players to cover in key areas, and I have even less faith in our ability to get rid of the deadwood.

    Darmian - Seemingly been close to leaving for a couple years now. Appears that we're holding out for too much money when surely as his value continues to depreciate its obvious we should just sell for the best price we can get.

    Rojo - The man himself reckons Ole loves him and he hasn't been linked with anyone. Worrying.

    Sanchez - Briefly linked with Inter and Atletico, hard to believe we'll be able to get him off the wage bill.

    Jones / Bailly - I feel like one of these two should be shown the door, extremely confident that neither of them will be.

    Mata - Actively trying to make the guy stay. Bizarre to me - slightly understandable if we are going to primarily use a diamond but even then I think his time has come.

    Lukaku - Not a concern imo. If he goes then fine, I like the names we've been linked with and fancy us to get a replacement. If he stays that's fine too.

    DDG - I'm pretty over this. I actually think due to our incompetence he'll go on a free next year, I do hope we replace him but won't be overly disappointed if we stick with Romero / Henderson.

    Young - Obviously going nowhere but he belongs on this list.
  9. Jun 8, 2019

    Velvet Revolver Full Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    Inside Scholes's Brain
    I think what OP's saying is, What is the sales pitch for joining united not who we are buying or selling.
  10. Jun 8, 2019

    roseguy64 Full Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    I think people have not actually read the opening post and are listing players that they want sold.
  11. Jun 8, 2019

    Regulus Arcturus Black Full Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    Somewhere out there

    Typical of the caf these days, most don’t even bother to read the OP, they simply respond to the thread title.
    The dumbing down of society has hit this place hard.

    For what it’s worth, it was a good OP and raises an important question.
    I hope we’re planning to move on some of the players who’ve been here too long with little success and that we’re selling and planning to be a club that all of the creme de la creme young talent want to join.
  12. Jun 8, 2019

    SaintMuppet New Member

    Aug 7, 2016
    The only sales pitch I can see is ‘ we pay you a lot of money ‘

    The problem with that is it only attracts the very opposite type of player than we actually want.
  13. Jun 8, 2019

    sunama Baghdad Bob

    Apr 26, 2014
    Can the OP please provide a list of who we are buying?
    I believe most of our targets have said, "no" to us, so I'd like to know who the realistic targets are.

    I think James (that Championship player) has already been signed.
    I think Bruno Fernandes is realistic.
    Aside from those 2, I am unsure.

    Once we know how is incoming, we can decide who leaves.
  14. Jun 8, 2019

    sunama Baghdad Bob

    Apr 26, 2014
  15. Jun 8, 2019

    fastwalker Full Member

    May 6, 2019
    Thank you sir and thanks for taking the time to read the OP in the first place.
  16. Jun 8, 2019

    lsd Full Member

    Jun 5, 2016
    Maybe there are players out there who despite being able to go to better clubs than us at present would still prefer to come to us .

    They may be aware of our history and standing in the world of football and be excited at the prospect of being in the team that gets us back to the top and all the acclaim that that would bring with it .

    Long shot I know but perhaps that is a selling point for some players
  17. Jun 8, 2019

    Shakesey Full Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Directly under the sun... NOW!
    We are selling one of the best brands in sport. Manchester United.
    Come and earn $$, gain social media followers, launch something wearable... and maybe, just maybe, be part of the Revival (which we ALL know will come sooner or later).
  18. Jun 9, 2019

    Shakesey Full Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Directly under the sun... NOW!
    You beat me to it by seconds, I tells ya!
  19. Jun 9, 2019

    fastwalker Full Member

    May 6, 2019
    This is going to be a big job isn't it? I mean this is going to be a really, really big job. How little we realise.

    I was hoping that this thread might illicit some inspiration and encouragement. Instead we are literally hoping for the best.

    As someone once said, "hope is not a policy" and if hope really is our policy, then we can have no strategy. I have never felt as uncertain going into a new season as I do now.
  20. Jun 9, 2019

    eltigreFalcao New Member

    Dec 6, 2018
    Buenos Aires
    OP is underlining the biggest concern down Manchester United's fanbase: is there actually a rebuilding going on? I really hope there is, I sometimes find myself trying to ignore the opposite. There are signs out there that are not very hopeful, mainly the amount of deadwood racking up at OT, and no one seeming to go. Massive changes are needed and there's still a light that points in that direction, and that for me is Ole. But we all now how big an awful director is Woodward football wise.

    On the other hand, I can tell that Manchester United is not the hottest name for footballers now days, there being a lot of teams more fancy than us atm. But it aint easy to turn down a move to the Theatre of de Dreams even in our current situation. If the rebuilding spirit is really on then we'll see a very exciting team in a couple of years. But first things first, get rid of the deadwood.
  21. Jun 9, 2019

    Carolina Red Moderator Staff

    Nov 7, 2015
    South Carolina
    Well, I don’t know about sales, but we just released a slew of youth guys...

    Millen Baars, Joshua Bohui, Zachary Dearnley, Callum Gribbin, DJ Buffonge, Regan Poole, Tom Sang, Tyrell Warren, Callum Whelan, Matty Willock, and Matthew Olosunde.
  22. Jun 9, 2019

    Denis79 Full Member

    Nov 2, 2014
    I have the same worries, I don't think the people running the club have ambitions higher than making top 4. If we sign top names, they'll be here for the money unless they are United fans, that's for sure. The lower league players will come here for the right reasons hopefully.

    But I can't think of an answer to your question, no idea what we are selling to any top names but high wages.
  23. Jun 9, 2019

    Glideman New Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    Maybe Manchester United should bring fans to negotiations and release all their plans, transfers and future tactics so it’s all out in the open...
  24. Jun 9, 2019

    Bastian Full Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    Great OP. I think this is connected with de Gea wanting out, he's not convinced we're going in the right direction.

    An actual rebuild that would start with a significant summer would involve convincing each player we're after that we're also doing all we can to sign x, y, z. Like bringing together a great cast, you convince one by stating who else is in. If our pitch is just: you can be the difference and nothing more, players won't be won over. Either we sign 3-4 top players or we probably won't sign any. Unless that is exclusively for the money.
  25. Jun 9, 2019

    Gordon S New Member

    Mar 20, 2018
    I think we are trying to sell us as a club that believes in their young players. A sleeping giant that wants to get a fresh start and work our way back to the top with a young and hungry team.
  26. Jun 9, 2019

    Bestietom Full Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Who's doing the sales pitch is the question.
  27. Jun 9, 2019

    Wumminator The Special One!

    May 8, 2008
    Obertans #1 fan.
    Players like Jones and Ashley Young are not deadwood.

    Ashley Young is currently the best right back at the club. Phil Jones is the third best centre back at the club.

    These are players that need to be upgraded. Phil Jones as the fourth best centre back is fine. Ashley Young as a back up left back is fine. For example if Luke Shaw was suspended for a game against Newcastle, I don't worry massively that Ashley Young has to step in. If Lindelof is suspended and we want to rest a CB, I don't mind Jones playing.

    What we need to do is ship out the players who absolutely make no impact at the club. Valencia has gone. He didn't play and was on a massive wage.

    Next up needs to be:
    Mata (IMO)

    I have not seen anything from them to suggest that they are United quality. I don't think they're good enough.

    I don't really do posts where I list a load of signings but for me, we currently have:

    1st choice - De Gea
    2nd choice - Romero
    3rd choice - Grant

    Right Back -
    1st choice - ?
    2nd choice - Dalot

    Centre Back
    1st choice - Smalling
    2nd choice - ?
    3rd choice - Lindelof
    4th choice - Jones

    Left Back
    1st choice - Shaw
    2nd choice - Young

    Left Midfield
    1st choice - Martial
    2nd choice - James/Sanchez (should be moved on - will prove impossible)

    Centre Midfield
    1st choice - Pogba
    2nd choice - ?
    3rd choice - ?
    4th choice - Fred/Matic/Mctominay

    Right Midfield -
    1st choice - ?
    2nd choice - Lingard (?)

    1st choice - Lukaku
    2nd choice - Rashford

    Personally for me if we sign a starting centre midfielder/right midfielder and right back we can completely change the team.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  28. Jun 9, 2019

    Di Maria's angel Captain of Moanchester United

    Mar 19, 2014
    They are the literal definition of deadwood.
  29. Jun 9, 2019

    SCJY New Member

    Apr 24, 2017
    In all honesty, United don't have very much to attract top talent to the club other than money at the moment. The traditional reasons for a player wanting to join a club:

    Ole isn't as experienced or as a much of a draw to our club as other managers are. Zidane, Pep, Klopp are objectively better managers.

    United may have the best history, but that could be sen as more of an albatross than a blessing for many potential signings because why would they really have the desire to help United reclaim lost glory versus helping another club cement their own legacy?

    Champion's League Football
    This is most certainly a big one for elite talent. Ole and Co really screwed the pooch on this one messing with tactics too much at the tail end of last season and failing to qualify for Champion's league. Ole increased his chances of getting sacked next season by about 40% by failing to qualify.

    Clearly defined footballing hierarchy/structure
    Some players may not care about any of the above, but might enjoy a highly regimented training system and clergies delineation of coaching/players/management. Basically the feeling of a "well-run club", I don't think United would illicit this feeling at all. It's seems clear that player-power runs rampant at United, and I'm not sure potential signings who are most dedicated to just playing football would appreciate this at all.

    Great players to play along-side
    Speaks for itself really, we lack any players that are truly world-class/legendary or have the potential to be legendary.

    Inspirational Captain
    Failure in having many world-class players, maybe we could have a single very good player, who is a inspirational in the dressing room and could potentially assist in attracting new talent, but at United, all you'd see is Gashley-fecking-Young with the armband.

    Nice City
    Let's be honest, Manchester isn't a very nice city at all. Even Liverpool is a nicer city, just down the road. Maybe this is subjective, but how many times in the past have we heard of players being OK playing in London or preferring to stay in a sunny-clime? This one is obviously out of the hands of United, but it's still a factor.

    Chance of silverware
    United have basically zero chance of winning the league next season, aren't in the CL, and don't really have the bottle under an inexperienced manager to have potential as a solid cup team.

    So, in summary... I think we're pretty much fecked. The above points are just things that I imagine a potential signing would take into account when accessing any club, but with United, based on its recent history, the problems run even deeper than just what I've just listed. There are far, far, far better options than United at the moment. It's very sad and I love Ole, but the fact Young, Jones, Smalling are not only still here, but got new contracts speaks volumes about United's ambitions going forward and if I was in a position to make a decision whether to join United or not, for myself or maybe my son, I would avoid them for now. Very sad.
  30. Jun 9, 2019

    RedNed77 Full Member

    Sep 7, 2014
    Land of the Berties
    Actually speechless.
  31. Jun 9, 2019

    Pughnichi New Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    The pitch is make Utd great again. Convince of a squad overhaul for them to be part of. A Young, hungry group with the right attitude both on and off the pitch. For me that’s why DeLigt and Tielemans are two who would be a great start. Captains at young ages, great attitudes, still young but with a wealth of experience. Sprinkle on top of that James, WanBissaka and perhaps Maddison then we’re really talking. The dross still needs to be kicked into touch though as to ensure any bad attitudes don’t start to influence the new guys
  32. Jun 9, 2019

    fastwalker Full Member

    May 6, 2019

    This is a really good framework to use.

    Using the measures that you have defined and apart from the wages, if I were looking to be sold on before signing for United would be firstly, Champion's League football, which we do not have next seasons. But the question I would ask myself is whether I would be willing to write off a season in Champion's League this seasons, for the possibility of playing in the competition next season. That really would depend on how confident I felt about the manager's ability. That brings me to my next point, which is Ole himself. Ole is a legend at the club for what he did as a player. However, he is learning on the job as at elite level, he has never managed a big club and therefore has absolutely nothing to offer as a sales pitch in that regard. I really cannot see how Ole could or would ever be able to convince me to sign for him on the strength of his managerial reputation. What reputation?

    The next thing I would consider from your list, is the chance of silverware. Believe it or not, I do think we have a chance of silverware. I can absolutely see United winning the odd cup, but not the big prizes. We are some way away from being in any position to win the Premier League or the Champions League. But why would a top player want to come to United to win the lesser domestic and European trophies?

    Then, there is the standing of the club. United are second to none in that regard if you consider the last 25 years. Manchester United sells itself and has an incredible global stature. However, the problem is that we are a club in transition. We are not the United of Ferguson, we are the United of Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho. The lustre and sheen of United has worn off quite a bit. I am not sure that we are any longer a destination of choice in the way that we were. If, as a case in point, a player like Jadon Sancho was available today and United and Liverpool put exactly the same financial package on the table, would he choose us over Liverpool? I am not so sure he would.

    Finally, from your list, I would consider the players I would be playing alongside and the dressing room culture. Well sadly, that is where I would perhaps have least confidence. The thing that would concern me most is the continuing speculation over De Gea and Pogba. Top players who are agitating for a move is a bad sign and an indication that this may not be a club where I would want to be. Likewise, as a serious footballer, dedicated to my craft, I would be massively put off by whole celebrity culture at United. Players seem just as interested in their images off the pitch, as their performances off it. Not for me thanks.

    In summary, I am not saying that players will not come to United. Absolutely they will. My concern is that they will not be coming for the right reasons. They are coming essentially for money, are unlikely to be here long term and may not give us the level of commitment that we need. I seriously hope that I am wrong, but the signs do not look great.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  33. Jun 9, 2019

    DomesticTadpole Doom-monger obsessed with Herrera & the M.E.N.

    Jun 4, 2011
    Barrow In Furness
    There were reports yesterday that Ole wants to give Pereira a new contract. Think it was four year.
  34. Jun 9, 2019

    Fosu-Mens Full Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Muppet station for next season.
    He can at least receive and pass the ball. Most likely to stop him from leaving on a free, and if/when we get new midfielders over the next two windows then he will be allowed to leave.
  35. Jun 9, 2019

    Vincent Vine New Member

    Jun 3, 2017
    We need to get rid of the current players who obviously are not good enough, it's the one thing that is stopping better players signing, knowing that their prospective teammates aren't really up to it
  36. Jun 9, 2019

    Casanova85 Full Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Northwestern Mediterranean
    We are not buying.
  37. Jun 9, 2019

    devlinadl New Member

    Dec 24, 2018
    Ask yourself how many young players have joined United and gone on to burnish their reputation? Now ask the same question about City or Liverpool. If you were a young player looking to improve yourself, who would you choose?
  38. Jun 9, 2019

    Rhyme Animal Modmins said "freeze" and I got numb

    Sep 3, 2015
    Nonchalantly scoring the winner...
    Incredibly, it seems increasingly likely that the much talked of 'clearing out of deadwood' is actually going to mainly consist of the sale of our three best players... Herrera, de Gea and Pogba!

    Sanchez will hopefully be off the wage-bill as well, but the guy never really plays anyway, so it isn't something that I view as impacting us much on the pitch - same with Darmian.

    Other than that, when you look at the players who actually start matches regularly and who we could improve on...

    Jones - new contract
    Young - new contract
    Smalling - new contract
    Lingz - loved by new manager
    Rashy - loved by new manager

    I honestly think that the club knew that Herrera, de Gea and Pogba were looking to move on and tried, pathetically, to spin losing our best 3 players as something that we were actually choosing to do.

    If we were gonna see a rebuild that actually involved shifting the deadwood, we would've heard and seen more action by now.

    In my opinion, the club is waiting to see if de Gea and Pogba leave before the 'rebuild' gets underway.

    Reactive Woodward as always - never proactive - it has all his usual hallmarks.
  39. Jun 9, 2019

    SirMattlives Full Member

    Sep 3, 2018
    For all the recent seasons of poor results, there remains something about the reputation of United that will always be a draw for players -- some said as much in the 70s and 80s when we were not exactly romping to titles that they came because it was Manchester United. Those of us who were around then likely feel this remains the case. Yes, players now have business agents and are constantly reminded of the importance of commercial benefits over a short career, but I don't really remember a time when players played for fun and didn't ever consider their wages, despite what some might have you believe from their media comments or biographies. So we can pay and we have that 'something' about us that makes us a 'big' club.

    Now, after this, it does come to personnel and personalities. Some managers attract -- Klopp, Pep, maybe Zidane, and yes, once upon a time, even Jose. I remember Zlat remarking when he signed that he knew Jose and felt there was a project underway at United that excited him. We have to compare that with the situation now. Few players 'know' Ole as a manager, and it's not obvious how convincing he can be when selling the current 'project'. Do we even have one? I hear 'rebuild', some hints at a focus on youth (has anyone officially said this?), removal of deadwood (hardly a selling point for a new player). Compare this with the story other managers might be able to tell to prospects. I suspect we tend to fall back on 'This is United, look at the tradition' which is something but it's still backward looking. Do we have a vision to sell?

    To this end, I do think the DoF role is crucial. The impression of Ole's tenure is that the club is still in transition, we don't have an overriding footballing philosophy, the leadership tends to be business not football focused, the manager might be sacked mid-season if results go badly....there's no clear message here. Compare this with SAF's days -- he moaned about business sometimes but he kept the club focused on the real business, playing winning football, at all costs. One felt that if he took the board on, he would have everyone with him and likely win. It's not like that anymore. We seem to have acknowledged we made a mess of the post-SAF transition (despite all the talk about doing it properly) and we've sort of repeated this by claiming when sacking Jose that we were returning to basics and were going to take a long-hard look at the DoF role and club structure this summer. If we are doing so, it's news to me. This impression of meandering lingers and I am not convinced Ole has the presence to suggest otherwise to potential recruits.
  40. Jun 9, 2019

    fastwalker Full Member

    May 6, 2019
    This is a really good post, with lots of great points made.

    I am going to cut to the chase here and address one of the key points that you raised, which relates to the 'rebuild' at United. I have often heard United fans referring to the fact that the Klopp's rebuild at Liverpool took four years and therefore United should be planning over the same horizon. On paper and on the face of it that sounds all fine and dandy. As long as United can back Ole in the transfer market, which I am sure they will and as long as he is given the time he needs, which is a more open question.

    There is however a simple but glaring flaw with the whole 'it took Klopp four years to rebuild Liverpool' comparison: Klopp was already an established elite level manager at the time of his appointment at Liverpool. As manager of Dortmund, Klopp had managed to overhaul Bayern Munich, win the Bundesliga twice and take Dortmund to a Champions League final. Klopp arrived at Liverpool with badges, credentials and an elite level reputation for success. Klopp had experience of rebuilding. He had been there, seen it and done it. Ok, so let's take the example of Sir Alex Ferguson; when he arrived at United, from Aberdeen, he did so having established a reputation for building a side that broke the Old Firm Premier League title duopoly and for achieving Cup Winners Cup success in Europe. In other words, Ferguson arrived to rebuild United, having already done so successfully at Aberdeen. Ferguson was not a rookie novice, he was a seasoned and experienced manager.

    In both the Klopp and Ferguson examples, experienced managers with track records of success were recruited to rebuild clubs, whose lustre and reputation had become diminished. This is the challenge that Ole faces. However, he has no such track record of success, no elite level reputation and no experience of rebuilding to draw upon. Therefore attempts to compare the task facing Ole with that faced by Klopp or indeed Ferguson, if that takes your fancy, miss the point. This will be a bigger, much bigger job that anyone imagines.

    Again, great post, I really enjoyed reading it.