This past week Manchester United has been posting a lot of throwback videos on their social media accounts, harkening back to an era when the club was great. Meanwhile on the other side of Manchester and Liverpool, the two sides unveiled their big signings, Erling Haaland and Darwin Núñez. Nothing shows the difference between United and the giants more than that.
While the summer window hasn’t opened yet, England’s top dogs have already begun to arm themselves for next season. City and Liverpool are locked in an arms race, while fallen giant United are acting like any movie studio, serving up nostalgia in place of innovation.
City and Liverpool are going big to prepare their clubs for next season, as both teams should rightly feel like they are the best clubs in the country. Haaland and Núñez are exciting young players who have torn up every league that they’ve played in. United, meanwhile, has an aging Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, who has been a flop, to counter them.
It would be the understatement of the century to say that United has been poorly run since 2013, as it’s clear to anyone with a passing knowledge of the sport. In a way, the Paul Pogba saga has been by far the best way to analyze the failures of the side. As Pogba departs yet again, the team is left without another star player as their rivals get only stronger.
United continues to lag behind the giants of the modern game and their attempts to please their fans online is fun to watch. A once great club that blazed their own path forward is now forced to post old highlights to pretend that all is well.
To sign either Haaland or Núñez is a sign of a serious club that is aiming to not only rule the Prem, but the world. These additions should tear up the Prem while United will have to hope that Ronaldo can carry the club once more.
When news of City’s Haaland signing broke, you could hear the hearts of every other Prem club’s fans break. Haaland has one of the best strikers on Earth and will give Pep his best striker since Lewandowski. Of course there is never a 100% certainty that a player will succeed, it feels like Haaland is as close to a sure thing as one can be.
Núñez has been one of the most underrated talents in Europe for a while now, as he has elevated Benfica’s play. With Mané departing Liverpool, Núñez should be a worthy replacement especially with the continued excellence of Luis Díaz. This is an ideal situation for the Uruguayan, as he can continue to develop while not having to carry the offensive load on his back.
Now turning eyes over to United, their options are severely lacking and there is seemingly no one on the way to rescue them. Erik ten Hag is an excellent appointment for head coach, as he has worked magic with Ajax teams. However, their biggest transfer rumor being Christian Eriksen should worry both manager and fans alike of the lack of ambition from the top.
Going into next season, of course anything can change, United will likely depend on Ronaldo once more to be their offense. Worryingly Fernandes did take a step back last season, leaving the iconic number 7 alone to carry the team. With Ronaldo another year older and the team around him taking steps back, it may be way too much for the sports icon to carry next year.
United’s inaction and refusal to move forward keeps them from keeping up with their rivals, as they continue to arm themselves for the future. City, Liverpool and Chelsea will fight each other for titles in the near future, while United will continue to peddle nostalgia.
If there was one move that best encapsulated the failures of United since the early 2010s, it has to be Paul Pogba’s history with United. With him likely to return to Juventus, the humiliation of United is happening once more.
Now, Pogba’s story with United is a long and tumultuous one that has already been covered here in depth. What really needs to be known about his time there in his various spells is that he left for Juventus twice and was not properly utilized in any manner.
The mercurial talent was kicked to the side by Sir Alex Ferguson, only to rebound at Juventus and become one of the best talents on Earth at Juventus. With incredible performances littering his time at Juve, United came back and brought him to Manchester for a record fee. While he did win trophies in that time, his legacy at United was an abject failure.
Why is this the best example of United’s ineptitude? Well it’s the perfect mixture of a player being brought in to fix the club only to be failed by all involved. Various managers and front office personnel failed to build squads that were capable of challenging for the title. It never mattered which players were brought in, as the internal chaos of the club damaged any hopes of success.
Be it Jadon Sancho or Harry Maguire, United has brought in players for large fees without giving them the proper environment for them to thrive in. Negating the talent and worth of the players, while their rivals have brought in players that fit their individual cultures. For example, Liverpool brought in Díaz for a small fee but integrated him into their culture to unearth his potential.
By being unable to find stability at any level of the club, United was always going to struggle in getting the most out of their players. They have also stunted the development of certain players like Martial and Rashford who don’t look at all like the prospects they were promised to be. This has effectively made any movement, be it transfers or academy prospects, less impactful.
United’s status as a dumpster fire over the past few seasons has been due to a multitude of reasons, as their rivals have continued to put distance between themselves and the former giant. Pogba’s failure at United is the best symbol of the club’s issues at being even remotely normal.
As Manchester City and Liverrpool continue their march towards European domination, United is left behind with clubs like West Ham and Wolves nipping at their heels. No matter the money United has thrown at players or managers, they have constantly failed to find any semblance of stability. For close to a decade now, United fans have dreamt of seeing their club return to the top once more, but they may have to wait longer.
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