Manchester United have fallen far from the days of Alex Ferguson, but it is possible for them to return to their former glory. With strong youth players and the right finances, they have the chance to once again be feared across Europe.
Manchester United: A Future filled with Silverware
The Transfer Market
Many point towards failure in the transfer window as one of United’s downfalls, but there are two sides to the story. This summer was Ole‘s first transfer window and he recruited many strong players. Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, and James have been among the most successful players at the club this season. Ole recruited players that fit well into the squad and have had impressive performances. For example, James is the top assist provider for United. If United continue this good recruitment throughout upcoming windows, they will be able to create a strong squad on top of an already impressive base.
The problem with the window was quantity and squad depth. The three players mentioned above were the only ones brought in during the window. Even though Lukaku left in the summer for the Serie A, no replacement was signed, and no players were signed to add squad depth. This is why Rashford‘s injury is such a crisis.
Trust in the Youth
But the transfer market is not the only way Ole has brought players to the first team. Regular starters Greenwood and Williams were both brought to the first team this season by Ole through the youth programs. These two have also impressed and have found a place in the team.
United has an established youth program and they should be able to continue bringing in players from it. This is an establishment that will help the team for years to come and is responsible for United’s talented youth. Some examples of talents from this program include McTominay, Pogba and Rashford.
Youth is the future of United, and if they continue to play them it will pay off in the future. Many fans get angry at the lack of experience in the current squad, but they aren’t seeing the full picture. Adding more experience into the squad will improve current performances by a little, but by keeping the youth, United are playing the long game, and building their future squad. If young players not fully trusted by the fans such as Williams and James get more playing time they will be established players, who are loyal to the club once they get into their prime.
Many fans are also angered by unimpressive results in the Premier League, and rightfully so, but there is a bright side. United have been able to pull off results in most of their big matches, so many fans think that the losses may be due to bad mentality, which can be expected from young players. As the players get older consistency and mentality will improve. Furthermore, United have been subject to many injuries to their already frail midfield, so with proper transfer work, results can be improved quickly.
Money is Power
Another major factor that will help United return to glory is money. Football is all about money. It’s been proven time and time again that no youth academy or strong transfer work can beat the power of money in football. Take the example of Ajax, they had a good run in the CL using their homegrown squad, but they inevitably lost when playing England’s big money teams. United are one of the richest clubs in the world, and it’s their biggest advantage over other clubs. They can afford to sign big stars to lift them to glory.
Looking Toward the Bright Future
There is a final factor playing in United’s favour to improve their future. The board members have decided on a ‘three-year plan’ and only expect to challenge for the Premier League by 2021-22 at the earliest. This is probably the biggest step towards improvement, recognizing the problem and taking the time to fix it. Now instead of finding quick fixes, the team will focus on youth and the future, which will immensely help.
Manchester United are far off from their former glory, but I predict that they will soon return to the top. In a decade’s time they could have already won the CL. Remember a decade is a long time, by then Rashford will be 32 years old and a legend at the club. Now that the board has recognized the problem and are working to fix it, things should progress. Furthermore, United already have a strong base to build on, one of the biggest youth programs to take players from and they are one of the richest clubs in the world, so they can do transfer work. United’s rebuild could be a major story of this decade.