Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been in charge of Manchester United for nearly 2 years. Last season he managed to get to 3 semi-finals, but unfortunately lost all 3 and managed to get a top 3 birth in the English Premier League. In January this year, a top 4 finish seemed out of his reach, but the singing of Bruno Fernandes changed his and the club’s fortunes. When all was lost, the Portuguese playmaker came in and dominated the league in a way that few can.
Since then United have struggled to perform consistently and actually in the 8 years since Sir Alex Ferguson left, the same issue has come to light more than a few times. United’s latest disappointing result came this week as they were dumped back into the Europa League after a lacklustre performance against RB Leipzig.
As a United fan it hurts to see the club fall so far from where they belong but why are United so inconsistent is the question on everyone’s lips. If we look at the managers we have been through in the last 7 years, a constant theme emerges. The board has been inconsistent with giving managers the players they want. And when the managers can’t deliver silverware or a top 4 finish, that manager is moved on, but how does the board expect a manager to make due when they haven’t got the players they need. Just take Mourinho’s last transfer window as an example. He wanted Kalidou Koulibaly to strengthen his defence and to sort out the creativity for an attacking midfielder and other midfield options. Those players were not bought, the board instead decided to “buy” other targets when there was a glaring hole in midfield. Ole has been hamstrung this season as he wanted a right-wing and a centre back, but the board decided on other targets once again. The current board at United want recognition when the team does well but is anonymous when they’re not doing well.
So, the solution in my mind is relatively a simple one! A Director of Football is urgently needed at the club. Ed Woodward currently oversees transfers, and he has not done the managers justice. United need someone with football knowledge to move forward, else, the transfers will always come down to bottoming numbers, and you can’t run a club like that. Sometimes the price is the price, and you need to pay it to be successful in football.
This, however, doesn’t let Ole off the hook, but he is a manager, who is learning on the job, so inconsistent performances, and the lack of identity could be down to him figuring out what works with the players he has. At a club of this stature a manager shouldn’t be learning though, he should know his next move, and at time Ole has had some brilliant performances, but other times he paints a clueless picture in the sideline.
For now, looking at the current league position and with favourable fixtures coming up after the Manchester City game this weekend it might be inconceivable that the manager would lose his job before the start of the new year and Ole has shown the ability to bounce back and get results when he needs them. Is he the man to take United back to the top? Only time will tell. My opinion is that he can steer the club in the right direction, but ultimately someone else will get the glory of lifting United out of its slump in terms of league titles and silverware.
However, until they sort things out behind the scenes, I don’t see United challenging anytime soon, and if they are looking for a DoF, they need not look further than Edwin Van der Sar. He is currently doing the job at Ajax Amsterdam and obviously knows United well having won titles with the club under Ferguson. Any manager that comes in will struggle until DoF is appointed because the football decisions are currently made by bankers and not football people.