Onwards and Upwards: The Moves Manchester United Need To Be Title Contenders!

Hello American Red Devils Readers,

Apologies for the long delay in adding an article to the page! With a wedding cancelled, work and trying to get by through an unprecedented pandemic that we’re all going through at this time. Life unexpectedly sneaks up on you… I’m just very thankful that some normalcy has returned in our lives with the return of Manchester United.

Although this recent loss in the FA Cup felt like a significant low blow by our London foes, I hope to look past this recent loss (and this season) and give my personal 2 cents as to what changes the club needs to make in order to return to the old glory days!

REWIND THE TAPE FROM 5 MONTHS TO NOW:

I know that back in February of this year, I had previously written an article regarding possible changes to players and management in the club. Rewinding 5 Months forward, the world is learning how to live with COVID-19.

Football had been cancelled for what felt like a decade freeze-of-play. Lastly, parts of the world (including some football clubs) are now in an economic turmoil, all resulting in a lot that has both directly and indirectly impacted the world of football. Not being all doom and gloom here, there has been some positives that have come to United as of late.

A couple months into the return to play, the Red Devils return to crowd-less venues with artificial cheers and jeers. Also returning to play, a somewhat healthier Manchester United squad with the return of Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw (somewhat) and recently Tim Fosu-Mensah. With the return of play for the remainder of the EPL season, Manchester United fans have also seen a promising restart with the help of Bruno Fernandes.

Prior to the FA Cup Loss, Fernandes has helped the club to a 19 game unbeaten streak. With 12 appearances in the EPL, Bruno has collected 7 goals and 7 assists. In the recent games, fans would have also noticed the awakening of Anthony Martial’s scoring boots.

At this moment in time, Martial just seems like he just can’t stop scoring in the Premier League. Lastly, along with Fernandes and Martial’s success, United have received a stronger presence in the midfield with the return of  Paul Pogba who is bringing all the drama on the field, instead of off the field with his controversial agent… 

Yes things here are starting to look a little better recently for Manchester united. Since the leagues return to play, if we looked at just the points from play resumption, Manchester United would easily be in the top 4 right now with 17 points in the restart.

With all this positive news and performance coming from the club, I would like to think that there would be some more positive changes to make our Club contenders once again for the Premier League and UEFA Champion’s League. 

MOVING FORWARD

MOVING FORWARD THROUGH COVID 19:

Aside from looking at clubs such as Manchester United being affected by the Pandemic, a lot has happened in 5 months for players in the global football transfer market. FIFA asked for players contracts to be extended, players stuck at home keeping fit and major clubs take a financial hit in revenue.

I guess you could say some clubs like Manchester United were lucky to sign Fernandes when they did, much like Borussia Dortmund were very lucky to claim Erling Haaland (still a topic too soon for me to talk about…). But, what I would like to talk about are the viable moves United should consider making to pull the club better than ever out of this pandemic and ready for next season! 

ALEXIS SANCHEZ -GOTTA GO:

Since the earlier pre-season training fight between Sanchez and Mason Greenwood, Sanchez’s friendship with the club has had a dark cloud over his future. The former Arsenal star is still on the clubs salary but has seen his inconsistent starts playing with loaned club Inter Milan.

Connecting with the likes of former United Star Romelu Lukaku, Sanchez seems to have found a longer lasting residency with the Italian Side. Circling through media, it’s alleged that Inter Milan is willing to cash out 10 million Euro’s for the Chilean forward.

Manchester United see Sanchez’s sticker price being double the price Inter is initially willing to pay for. I think for everyone’s sake, Ed Woodward needs to get out his calculator and crunch some number to complete this deal.   

CHRIS SMALLING:

Like Sanchez, Smalling has also seemed to have found more success (playing time that is) in Italy with AS Roma. The English centre-back’s transfer has recently been projected in the media as being close to an 18 million euro move from Manchester United. Again, this is a move I see as being beneficial to both sides. With the likes of Tim Fosu-Mensah returning to promising health, Fosu-Mensah could develop and elevate his play with more senior appearances with the senior squad. Complete Smalling’s deal and develop Fosu-Mensah. 

PHIL JONES:

With a face meant for radio broadcasting (when his career comes to an end), Jones has continually had his shared ups and downs with injuries and poor performances. Along with injuries, Jones has also had his share of ups and downs with playing time.

Rumors coming from (once again) from the world-wide internet is that West Ham United is interested in picking up Jones from the Red Devils. Obviously money talks and bull sh*t walks.. But here’s hoping West Ham has found a new face to their defence.

JESSE LINGARD: 

Also in talks to leave the club (possibly also to West Ham (if you believe the internet…)) is Manchester United’s benchwarmer of the season, Jesse Lingard. His lack thereof performances throughout the season has led fans (including myself), speculating to his potential departure from the club. For a player once with such promise and potential, fans have gotten tired of waiting for Lingard to bounce back into his potential form.

With Lingard out of the roster, Manchester can give more chances to our young rising talent such as James Garner; a bright up and coming midfielder who has been building a positive reputation in the club. Obviously still at 19 years of age, Garner has a lot to add to his game still. Replace Lingard for more time for Garner.

DAVID DE GEA ANYONE???

Ok, maybe I’m out to lunch on this thought, but hear me out! Since De Gea’s blunder in the quarter final round of the 2018/19 Champions League against Barcelona,  Spain’s #1 keeper has just not been the same at the club.  

I cannot count just how many times this season De Gea has let slide an ‘easy’ goal. I can say easy since I’m a goalkeeper myself. But frankly though, the goals De Gea has conceded this season are worthy for Sunday league matches.

With the transfer money of De Gea’s potential departure, the club can invest it back into the likes of possible acquisitions like Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund; who want a transfer purchase of 100 million euros for the star winger. Aside from transfer money, Dean Henderson has had a positive loan with Sheffield United and was a regular starter for the club. Henderson has promise to be England’s next senior keeper and what a better place to develop him than as the next top keeper for Manchester United. 

THE POGBA DRAMA:

With the press previously reporting Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes cannot get along with each-other, I’d say that rumor was quashed in the last couple of months.. Bruno and Paul have been lighting up the midfield for Manchester United and it has brought a solid feel to the clubs midfield.

I tend to not get my hopes up that high but Manchester United are still in the hunt for a Europa Trophy and finishing top 4, to book a spot in the UEFA Champions league next year. Paul has made it clear in past reports that he has been interested in playing for top clubs. Pogba’s agent: Mino Raiola, has expressed in the past that his client could play for the likes of Real Madrid or even old club Juventus. Talks within Manchester United media is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really likes the chemistry between Fernandes and  Pogba.  

At this point, I can go either way with Pogba. I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a Pogba fan, I’m a Manchester United Fan. I’m in favour of what is best for the club. Pogba brings force and a presence to the teams midfield (when he is healthy and match fit). With him also comes the drama of a top midfielder and his agent. Pogba is a player who lives for glory and trophies. Whether he wants to do that with a developing side like Manchester United right now is another story for another day.

But if you do sell Pogba to say, Madrid or Juventus, what players are out there with the same caliber that can take Pogba’s place in the lineup? Even if Manchester United pick up Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, United will still need to find a player with the caliber and performance of a fit and healthy Paul Pogba. Either give him the money he’s worth right now, or sell him off and work early on building the club’s depth for next season.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

All these player moves are very probable and justifiable for Manchester United. Whether Ed Woodward or the Glazers do anything to improve our club is another story! I joke at the thought that the Glazers are probably planning to spend more money on the purchase of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for their football team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), rather than any money they intend to spend on Manchester United…

Frankly, I’m still scared at the thought that the Glazers and Woodward will not make any moves this upcoming off-season. One can only hope that the Glazers will one day sell the club to someone who can afford to spend, wants to contend for trophies and add more glory to the world’s greatest Football Club.

Please feel free to leave a like or a comment on this article. Feel free to also let me know if you agree with any of my thoughts or if you feel completely disagree; I’m only one opinion in a sea of red devils.

Thanks for reading if you got this far!

–The Villager.    

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About Alex 63 Articles
My name is Alex and I am a co-host of the American Red Devils podcast, and discovered the greatest football club in the world freshman year in highschool, after playing FIFA '99 on Nintendo 64. Originally it was the red hair of Paul Scholes that caught my attention, given the four Gingers in my family, but I never knew a redhead could ball like Scholesy. However, what really sucked me in was the arrival of Wayne Rooney at the club, to this day my all-time favorite player. I was lucky enough to witness my first game at Old Trafford in '07 while studying abroad, witnessing the 4-0 thrashing of Wigan. I rented a car and drove down for the day from Edinburgh to Manchester and back (NYC to Boston twice), driving on the wrong side of the car and the road! Lucky enough to be in Sunderland to see Zlatan's last United goal and in London to see Matic's stoppage time screamer at Selhurst. Honored and privileged to be a Manchester United fan.

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